As a long time fan of both comics and ska, Rude Tales is right up my alley: an anthology in which all the stories are related to ska! I was excited to pick up the first issue, and was impressed by most of what’s here. Virtually cover to cover, Rude Tales is as fun to read as ska is to listen to. Almost every tale fared well, and left me looking forward to the next issue.
The most amusing strip here is Nick Derington’s “The Adventures of Rude Girl.” Rude Girl is a very endearing and cute character, drawn in a clean, cartoony style. In her inaugural adventure, Rude Girl goes out to a show. Most ska fans will be able to relate to what happens, from the joy of the music to the problems with skins and the ska newbie in the Less Than Jake shirt. I can’t wait to see what happens to her next!
While “Rude Girl” is the most out-and-out fun, there’s a lot of other good material. Skavoovie and the Epitones singer Ans Purins contributes “Secret Agent 40,” a surreal play on the connection between ska and secret agents, including a sublime parody of ska shows. James Glader’s “Crew-Ska-Fiction” is a very pretty manga-influenced strip about the travails of owning the ultimate ska status symbol, the Vespa. Jordan Hillyard’s “Dave!” series gets several vignettes, and although the early outings are slow; when Dave forms a band in later strips, it’s witty parody all the way. “Mr. Evil,” from W. Ralph Walters, Jr., also gets a couple of vignettes, telling the origin of a ska zombie! It’s an interesting start, and the splash of the second vignette, with Mr. Evil skanking and singing along to the Toasters’ classic “Mona,” is almost worth the issue’s price alone.
The only negative thing about the first issue is the inclusion of Ryan Ambariantz’s “Spackle,” a Zippy the Pinhead-styled walk through five pages of nonsense. To begin with, it’s not ska-related, unless you count the “shameless ska plug” that was obviously only included to justify the strip running. I wouldn’t have a problem with this if the strip was funny, or even interesting, but it’s just meaningless, poorly drawn babble. The anthology would have been better off five pages shorter.
Despite “Spackle,” though, the average ska fan will have a great time with Rude Tales. The contributors have their hearts in the right places, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what future issues will bring. Rude Tales Comix, 1200 Madison, Box 507, Denver, CO 80206; RudeTales@aol.com