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average writing
competent art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Poor Farm Comics and Stories #2
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AVERAGE SCORE 7
Only Printing / 1975 / 24 pages / Starvation Studios
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There's little known about Poor Farm Comics and Stories beyond the fact that there were three issues published by Joseph Tyburczy in the mid 1970s and they were produced in Methuen, Massachusetts (a small town about 30 miles north of Boston). As far as I can tell, Tyburczy has never produced any other comics of note, though the artwork in this book demonstrates that he's a decent, if unpolished, illustrator.

There is not a lot of artwork to be found, however, as the majority of this issue is taken up by poetry, very short stories, and snippets of prose by three other contributors. These writings are insipid to mundane and entirely unremarkable, though they were evidently written by people who could at least form a complete sentence.

The most notable feature of Poor Farm Comics and Stories #2 is the single comic story by Tyburczy, which runs seven pages towards the back of the book. "The Sermon of the Stones" is scarcely a masterpiece, but Tyburczy effectively crafts a unique world with palpable characters and an interesting plot...at least for the first few pages. The story centers on a young man named Balloon who claims to have a "spiritual" relationship with an old man named Harmon, but when he visits Harmon it becomes obvious that their relationship is more one-sided than Balloon is willing to admit.

The story begins to falter a bit after Balloon heads down into Harmon's basement, but even then it maintains an off-kilter vibe of mystery. The plot soon drifts into dream-like state and there are some amusing non-sequiturs before the story ends with an apparently fatal incident clouded with ambiguity. I wouldn't say "The Sermon of the Stones" is compelling or even satisfying, but it does make me want to pick up the other two issues of this series if I can read more stuff from Tyburczy. The few pages of Tyburczy comics in this issue are interesting enough—and show enough intriguing potential—to boost the review score up to a 6 instead of the 4 or 5 the book probably deserves for its overall content.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.
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COMIC CREATORS:
Joseph Tyburczy - 1-14 (art, layout), 15-23 (script, art)
Kenneth Cutter - 2-5 (story), 7-9 (story), 14 (story), 24 (story)
Michael Langevin - 6 (story), 12-13 (story)
Randy Bergeron - 10-11 (poetry)