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spotty writing
competent art
historical bonus 2
total score 4
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Only Printing / 1973 / 36 pages / John Aulenta
John Aulenta self-published two comic books in the '70s; this one in 1973 and Paradise, An Interplanetary Fantasy in 1975. Both contain a lot of comics about space aliens and concepts of God, and Paradise may be the slightly stronger book, but neither should be considered lost treasures. Heart gets off to a decent start with an amusing one-pager on the inside front cover, but the lead story about a sanitary napkin has a weak premise with no payoff.

The obvious highlight of the book is "Who Knows Who Owns the Silence," an 11-page story in the middle of the comic. It features two bible-thumping humans who visit an alien planet and attempt to convert the native population into Christians. They spend more than 30 years forcing the natives into building a church and giving ill-conceived lectures about Jesus, believing this will earn their ticket into heaven. Sure enough, the humans eventually grow old and die, and their efforts appear to be fruitless, but Aulenta throws in a nice twist at the end that casts doubt on their ultimate legacy.

For someone who could write a story as cohesive as that one, Aulenta drops the ball through most of the rest of the comic book. There's quite a bit of pretty lame concepts and stories before the book ends on the inside back cover with another one-pager that evokes just enough dulcet ambiguity to make you wish for more. Aulenta is not a worthless lackey like so many other hacks that attempted to cash in on the popularity of the undergrounds, but neither is he talented enough to recognize when he's dealing shit instead of spinning gold.

It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.

John Aulenta - 1-36