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Songs for a Movie I Never Made: Amazing Joy Buzzards Volume 1    by Mark Smith & Dan Hipp order for
Songs for a Movie I Never Made
by Mark Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Image Comics, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Now, a name like The Amazing Joy Buzzards should conjure a band that does some pretty weird stuff on stage: eating live animals, crazy costumes, or even some sort of body mutilation. But this trio (though occasionally a quartet) maintains a relatively cool and low-profile status while onstage - once the curtain goes down (though sometimes before), the real craziness begins.

Biff Ashby, Stevo Vargas, and Gabe Carlyle fight the supernatural forces of evil in whatever manifestations they take. Then there's El Campeon, a Mexican wrestling behemoth who seems to magically appear whenever the band is in need. Whether it's a giant-size monster that was once their former frontman Biff, a disgruntled pink robot, or a horde of vampire robots, the Amazing Joy Buzzards manage to kick butt, jam onstage, and most importantly score with the girls. To them, their adventures seem almost random chance, though many result from their manager's actions - Dalton Warner is director of Creative International Artists, a front company for the CIA. But while away in Russia, Warner misses their latest adventure (the said monsterized Biff) and ensuing pandemonium, which includes a trip to an island with a dormant ancient power, the gang signing up to do a movie of Biff's transformation, and dealing with murder and mayhem while filming.

The Amazing Joy Buzzards: Songs for a Movie I Never Made is a quirky and eclectic graphic novel filled with humor and excitement. Using negative space in this black and white volume provides a devious tone that teases out the dark side of the humor and plots. Although sometimes the abundance can make pages or panels feel to busy or just wear on the eyes, the style creates a sinister atmosphere. This structure doesn't become obvious in the first story arc of the graphic novel, where the use of pink color creates an additionally haunting effect. No one (except overly masculine men) would have thought that pink could feel so threatening. Though reading this first graphic novel may not make you into an instant groupie, it will still give you some laughs and raised eyebrows. Some of the stories pull the reader in better than others but these birds' appeal comes from their eccentricity.

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