It’s August, and that means it’s really f’n boring here at Barry Melrose Rocks. Here’s some hockey-ish reading to get you through the dog days, because you can only refresh HF Boards so much before you go nuts.
Whether it’s trying to rearrange the already-lit logs in a wood stove, making beer runs in a blizzard, or knocking heads at pickup hockey, Crowbar Benson is always a great read. In Sandy Debreuil ‘s strip, Crowbar and his boys live in small-town Manitoba. I like that the strip is specifically set in Manitoba rather than “Anytown, wherever.” There’s a distinct character to the strip’s universe that I don’t think would exist otherwise. Even though I’ve never been to Manitoba, I feel as if I’ve shared so much with the characters Debreuil has created (though I suppose growing up in Vermont means that I totally get some things, like the never-ending winters.) He has the website, as well as the collection Hands of Cement.
I stumbled upon Crowbar Benson while reading another great hockey comic, “Taking the Bypass.” In that arc, Crowbar finds himself in a Toronto comedy club where Dave of“Bypass” is doing a stand-up bit about the Montreal Canadiens. He and Crowbar make a bet about whether the Leafs or the Candiens will finish higher in the standings that year, and there’s even an –off-screen cameo from Tie Domi!
I think one of my favorite arcs was the one where Crowbar and the boys attempt to “rescue” the Stanley Cup from Toronto. Over this multi-strip epic, they mistakenly go from Manitoba to Montreal (“pas ici depuis 1993”) to Toronto, only to snatch the Cup from the Hockey Hall of Fame. There is also an annual Remembrance Day series based on letters from an actual Canadian soldier in World War I. it’s a bit of a departure from the norm, but it’s incredibly moving.
In addition to the great hockey writing, there are animations and tutorials to teach drawing. And, Sandy’s just a great guy. If you say hey, he’ll usually say hey back. Despite being a Habs fan, he’s a pretty chill guy who’ll gladly talk hockey and artistic exploration over beers anytime. He also drew some awesome artwork for me when I bought his book:
In short, go buy the book. Bookmark the site. It updates Monday through Friday. P.S. GO LEAFS GO.