Fun-size nightmares to usher out the summer of 2020 with a scream… Your Major Spoilers review of Ice Cream Man Presents Quarantine Comix Special #1 from Image Comics awaits!

ICE CREAM MAN PRESENTS QUARANTINE COMIX SPECIAL #1

Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martin Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Good Ol’ Neon
Featuring: Declan Shalvey/Al Ewing/PJ Holden/Deniz Camp/Artyom Topilin/Aditya Bidikar/Christopher Cantwell/Eoin Marron
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: September 9, 2020

Previously in Ice Cream Man: He’s the deliverer of bad dreams and sinister sweets, and no one ever finishes one of his cones unchanged…

Now in fun-size! Getcher Ice Cream Man kids, hurry before it’s all gone… or YOU are.

THE SERPENT IN EDEN

We open with one of Prince’s experimental pieces, a sonnet about creating in times of plague, comparing the protagonist to Shakespeare writing King Lear, and just the fact that it works as a sonnet is impressive. The fact that it also fills me with existential dread is just icing on the cake. Up next, a story which posits The Ice Cream Man himself as the serpent in Eden, exposing Adam & Eve to the forbidden fruit and packing a blackly humorous punch. (They are expelled and cursed with bad karma, slow WiFi and high calorie ice cream.) My favorite story in the issue features a convention of All The Mikes, as a man deals with himself and all the folks he used to be, while we also get the adventures of a superhero called Pinky Ring, a horrifying meditation on illness and the medications we take to cure it, and ‘All The Way’, another of Prince and Morazzo’s moments that both chill my bones and make me think about the world as I know it. We also get several stories from creators outside the usual team, including Declan Shalvey’s meditations on nature, a truly horrifying tale that tackles the pandemic head on from Camp and Topilin, and a truly wonderful tales mashing up Animal Crossing and ‘The Wicker Man’ from Ewing and Holden.

COLLECTED FOR THE FIRST TIME, TO BENEFIT COMIC SHOPS

This issue is double-sized, collecting a series of short stories created during quarantine earlier this year, and 50% of sales will be donated to BINC, to aid comic shops struggling because of the pandemic. As such, I’d recommend that you pick up a first printing if you can, but it’s even better knowing that I can tell you the book is really good. Prince and Morazzo deliver their usual horror/suspense/parody mash-up with aplomb, and the guest creators do really good work in maintaining the tone of an Ice Cream Man-style story. (‘Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin’ by Camp is a very hard read in a too-real sense, but so worth the journey.) There’s also not a story in this collection that doesn’t look amazing, from the sudden monster panels of Morazzo’s ‘Seroquel’ to the pastoral murderiness of Shalvey’s ‘Nature Calls’, there’s nary a visual clunker to be found, which is a testament to these creators, especially given the time in which these stories were created.

BOTTOM LINE: STILL DISTURBING, EVEN IN SMALLER DOSES

All in all, Ice Cream Man Presents Quarantine Comix Special #1 is a winner, with humor, horror, pathos and a little too much reality combining with the unreality of the horror premise to make a really lovely comic that earns 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Given that it’s also going to help out businesses hurt by the pandemic, I’d say it’s a win/win situation for everyone involved. Just… don’t read this one in the dark, okay?


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ICE CREAM MAN PRESENTS QUARANTINE COMIX SPECIAL #1

90%
90%
A Noble

Cause

Shorter stories and guest artists don’t destroy the horrific mystique off Ice Cream Man’s terror-filled little world, but (as always) sensitive readers should proceed with care.

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  • Art
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    9
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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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