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Review: Stuck In The Gutters #1


The cover design is fantastic

Several months ago I had to pack a lot of the things in my Comic Cave into moving boxes, and as is often the case when you’re packing things away, I didn’t really pay attention to what was going into the boxes. The other day, though, I was rooting around for something in one of those boxes and I came across a magazine I had brought when I was last over in England more than two years ago called Clint. Although Clint had ceased publication with the only issue I had ever brought, Clint was a comic book anthology magazine that featured text pieces such as interviews and other features as well as interviews.

Until I saw the magazine sitting in a box in my basement, I hadn’t realized that there simply wasn’t anything else like Clint (that I was aware of) out there.

That is, until Stuck In The Gutters arrived in my inbox.

Complied by Leo JohnsonStuck In The Gutters is a brand new bimonthly digital magazine much like Clint that features more than fifty pages of original content that ranges between short comics and text pieces that cover various different subjects within the scope of comics. The magazine can perhaps best be described as part comic magazine, part comics journalism, Stuck In The Gutters is scratching an itch that I didn’t know I had.

The first issue of Stuck In The Gutters is available now from Gumroad under a pay what you want model. What that means is, essentially, you can name your own price for the magazine, and any profits the magazine makes are shared among the contributors.

If that sounds good to you, then it should. The first issue of this magazine is really quite brilliant; there is literally a comic in the magazine for almost all types of comic fan, from a quick pun on a well loved character to a more in depth exploration about the rights of clowns. The comics included in this issue vary in style and scope, with the art work in some looking like it could be taken right from one of the large comic book publishers, and in other comics the art work is a fun, almost simplistic style – that isn’t a criticism, far from it, but hopefully it helps to illustrate (pun half intended) the difference in art style between strips. Yes, there is a difference, and yes it absolutely works.  As different as the comics included are, not one of them is bad, and each comic within Stuck In The Gutters is worth reading.

Spacing out the comics are the text pieces, and it’s these that elevate the magazine to more than just an anthology magazine. There’s a very interesting piece by Jeremy Holt on his experiences trying to get a comic published, an accurate opinion piece on the shared universes that our favourite character inhabit by Jideobi Odunze, and a very personal account of the hope we derive from comic books  by Josh Flynn to name only three (note that just because I didn’t mention the others doesn’t mean they’re of lesser quality, as all the pieces are worth your time to read, no instead I just picked three stories at random). There are other fantastic articles space between this comics in this first issue of Stuck In The Gutters, and I encourage you to read them, indeed, I hope you read them all.

Stuck In The Gutters is, hands down, a brilliant read.

It has been a long time since I’ve read anything like this magazine, in fact the last comic book magazine I read, Comic Heroes, was cancelled last year, and I didn’t realize just how much I missed the format. This magazine scratches the itch I had, and it does it so very well.  What I find mot impressive about the way the magazine has been compiled is that while there are numerous contributions from more than twenty writers and artists from four different countries with differing styles, Leo Johnson has put together the first issue of Stuck In The Gutters in such a way that the magazine feels like it has an identity all of its own.

And that cover, drawn by Alberto Muriel? Brilliant.

Stuck In The Gutters is a great read, and I’ve found myself going back to it several times since it arrived in my inbox a couple of days ago, and I hope that the magazine sticks around for a long time to come, and I hope you give it a read. In case you missed it earlier, you can download it from Gumroad here.

Story: Stu Perrins, Josh Flynn, Rudy Trevizo, Frank Santoro, Jeremy Holt, J. Luke Pham, Jess Camacho, Alex Mansfield, Tyler Hallstrom, Jideobi Odunze, Dan Hill, Ryan K Lindsay, Marc Jackson, Chris Northrop, Josh Trujillo
Art: Brian Burke, Robert Simpson, Marc Jackson, Benjamin Anthony, Gareth Cowlin, Alex Ditto, Jordan Kroeger, Paul Jeter, Bobby Simpson, Kelly Williams
Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Leo Johnson sent Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review.

If you are interested in submitting anything for Stuck In The Gutters #2, then email Leo Johnson at leoflj91@gmail.com with the subject “Submissions.” Bear in mind that the deadline for the second issue is the first week in September, with the second issue due for October. Stuck In The Gutters website can be found here, if you wish to check it out.