Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Collected Neil The Horse


The Collected Neil The Horse
by Katherine Collins with an introduction by Trina Robbins
Conundrum Press
300 pages, b/w, softcover, $25 
In shops: May 2017

Originally published by Aardvark-Vanaheim and Renegade Press, Neil The Horse ran for 15 issues in the 1980s. With its tagline, "Making the World Safe for Musical Comedy" it is the world's only musical comic book. It is a totally original hybrid influenced more by Carl Barks and Fred Astaire than by the underground comics of the time. Originally produced under the name Arn Saba, Neil's creator transitioned to Katherine Collins after the last issue. Neil and his friends Soapy and Mam'selle Poupée are a struggling song-and-dance act. Neil is a happy-go-lucky horse with a mania for bananas. Mam'selle Poupée is a romantic and lovelorn living doll from France, whose wooden body is jointed with hinges. With red circles on her cheeks, curly blonde hair, and large bust, Poupée appears to be a cross between Raggedy Ann and Dolly Parton. Soapy is a street-wise and cynical (with a heart of gold) orange alley cat, a cigar smoker and a drinker, who serves as the brains of the operation. Their magical and absurd adventures take them to outer space, the past, and the future in a mix of slapstick, romance and show business. The book includes brand-new commentary by Collins, rare art, sheet music to accompany the stories, and reprints of early syndicated newspaper strips.

"Delighted at your continuing Neil The Horse efforts... and I'm particularly enthusiastic about your continuing probe of the medium. I welcome you as a fellow explorer." ~ Will Eisner

"Neil has a sense of magic to it that is in no way syrupy or cutesy. It should be read by every man, woman, and child in the English-speaking world." ~ Jackie Estrada

"...Influenced by classic funny animal cartoons and covers resembling 1930s art deco designs, the series appears an anomaly. Saba's premise was something both old and new: the musical comedy. Saba had a vaudevillian approach, changing the format of his comics several times within each issue. This variety act included the comic strip, comic book stories, illustrated stories, originally composed sheet music, crossword puzzles, and more. It appeared like a modern version of early twentieth-century hardbound children's annuals that employed such a variety of techniques rarely seen in comics." ~ Dave Kiersh, Indy Magazine

6 comments:

Travis Pelkie said...

Cool. I have most of the original issues, so I'll have to give them a read and see if I should get this collection.

Wasn't there a 3D story in the AV in 3D book?

Dominick Grace said...

Hmm. Is this the one that was supposedly crowd-funded on Indiegogo a few years back, by Hermes Press, who took people's money and then never delivered the book? and claimed that funders who gave money were making "donations," so they never refunded the money? Looks like it; that oen promised a Trina Robbins intro too. So, will those of us who gave Hermes Press our money get copies?

Bill Ritter said...

This is not a defense of the Indiegogo debacle, but the Hermes Press project was created with a "flexible" funding option; meaning even if the goal was not met (which the "Save Neil the Horse" campaign was not, having only $2160 raised from a $15k goal), the funds would still be collected, no incentives or rewards guaranteed to supporters. So, yeah...simply...it would be like a donation.

IMO, Hermes Press should not have engaged in this type of campaign, and not collected any money if the goal was missed. I would have expected a more professional standard for an established publisher. Shame, that.

Dominick Grace said...

Yeah. Haven't bought anything from Hermes Press since, nor will I, ever again.

Geoffrey D. Wessel said...

I do remember the Indiegogo campaign, remember it falling way short of goal, but never heard about the ensuing Hermes Press debacle! Good grief! That is a shitty way to act.

That said, I like the cut of this Conundrum Press. That graphic novel about the Tibetan national football (soccer) team seems a treat! Pity I'll need to see who I know in Canada to get them it seems...

--- Geoffrey D. Wessel

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just happened to stumble upon this, but you're in luck! Conundrum Press have UK sales and distribution through Turnaround, where I work, and this will be in bookstores and comic shops from May 2017 (according to Conundrum Press, who have recently submitted this title to us). We also supply Amazon, Book Depository, etc. You won't have to get it from Canada if you don't want to.

Dreams in Thin Air (That graphic novel about the Tibetan national football (soccer) team) is out in March 2017 and should also be in UK shops/websites then. :)