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hobo stories
 
average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Hobo Stories
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AVERAGE SCORE 8
Only Printing / July, 1979 / 44 pages / Everyman Studios
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Despite the title, there's scarcely a hobo to be found in Hobo Stories. Instead, the book leads off with a 23-page adventure by Dave Taylor called "The Power of Zot!" The story begins with our two protagonists, Rudie and Breezy, hitchhiking to San Francisco after escaping the clutches of the secret government-sponsored Thought Control Squad. Unfortunately, the first ride they hitch is driven by two undercover agents from the Squad, forcing Rudie and Breezy to escape yet again and blow up the agents' car, killing them both. They are shocked to discover the "dead" agents are actually only robots, but because they still fear arrest they start walking up the highway.

That's when they meet "The Great Zot" and his friend, Batchwally. Zot, whose massive walrus mustache connects to his massive sideburns, possesses amazing, god-like metaphysical powers, which comes in handy when a team of police tries to apprehend all four of them. But after escaping one team of cops, another captures them with some knock out gas. They all end up in a secret asylum to be interrogated by some Jesus-freak maniac, but Zot uses his magical powers to enable yet another escape and expose the maniac as a government-controlled robot, leading to his self-destruction by explosion. And they all lived happily ever after.

Taylor's solid illustration helps compensate for the convoluted plot, inefficient pacing, and inconsistent characterizations. For instance, early in the story the Zot character insists that every human has the capacity to use "thought energy" to control matter like he does, but later he reveals that he is a unique immortal who's been around over 6,000 years (implying only he has such magical powers). There also seem to be a lot of extraneous panels and needless exposition or demonstrations, which probably add several pages to this long story. Overall though, "The Power of Zot!" is an enjoyable yarn.

John Adams follows with "The All American Movie Comix," which starts out as a moody set piece with a lone driver on a quest "in search of the open road." The nameless driver randomly forces another car off the road and then stops to pick up a young female hitchhiker, who proceeds to blow him and have sex with him while he's driving. The driver succumbs to her seduction, but later regrets it, saying he's "sullied the honor of the road." He ends up amending his sin through violent retribution, which makes you wonder why he picked up the chick in the first place (and when the consequences of his actions will finally catch up to him).

Wedged between a couple of one-pagers by Artie Romero (one decent, one not so), Taylor provides a very ragged six-page story about two sales guys on the road, which is further weakened by the incomprehensibly poor production work that makes it look like the original artwork was photocopied on gray paper. After the whip-sharp illustration in Taylor's opening story, it makes no sense to include six pages of this junk. Padding the book much?

The other odd thing is that all of the individual story copyrights in the book are from 1972 to '76 (the Zot epic is from '73), and Hobo Stories was published in '79. In any case, it's a book worth reading for the good stuff, but not worth lauding for its excellence.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
Everyman Studios printed approximately 4,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.
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COMIC CREATORS:
Dave Taylor (Editor) - 1-25, 36-41, 44
Artie Edward Romero - 2, 35, 42
John A. Adams - 26-34