Look, we all know dating is hell, but what’s dating like in hell? And who better to let us know than Hyena Hell?
As it turns out, things aren’t easy for a single demon on the prowl, so for our frustrated protagonist in No Romance In Hell, published at the tail end of 2019 (I know, I know — I’m a little late to the party) by Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club, the only place to go is up — as in to Earth. But is that really a step in the right direction? And do you really need me to answer that question? Shake your head “no” to both and we’ll move along —
If you’re familiar with the work of Ms. Hell, you know what to expect here in a general sense : audacious humor, lots of attitude, a decidedly punk sensibility, feminist themes, and no fucks given as to whose toes she steps on. And if you’re not familiar with her work, then I have to say : you couldn’t ask for a better comic with which to get familiar with it, and fast. This is just about as accessible — and smart, and entertaining — as comics get, and she skewers the male of the species (human and demon) with such glee that it’s literally impossible to conceive of anyone not getting a kick out of much of this book. It has a definite point of view, but it’s in no way venomous or even remotely alienating. Some easily-triggered “MRA” or “incel” might take exception to it, but we’re operating from a baseline of “who gives a fuck what they think” here from word go, so — who gives a fuck what they think?
Certainly Hell’s cartooning has never been better — always a force to contend with on that front, she’s continued to refine her inherently comedic style while sacrificing none of the immediacy and DIY vibe that have always been part and parcel of her art. This is stuff that looks and feels in no way belabored, but is nevertheless no mere rush job, either : indeed, her attention to detail is quite impressive and her line is supremely bold and confident. As arrogant as it no doubt might sound, it’s nevertheless true : if you don’t like this stuff, then I don’t think you like cartooning. Full stop.
That being said, what I find most most likable about this particular comic, as alluded to earlier, is its overall tone. Hell has an utterly unique way of making what would seem confrontational in other, less skilled, hands simply come across as a matter of course in her ‘zines, so that leaves you with two options : you can either meet her at her level or take a hike. She’s got the chops to back up her bravado, that’s for sure, so trust me when I say that you pass on this at your peril, because it’s as insightful as it is funny, and two things we could all do with some more of these days (or, for that matter, any other) are insight and fun, so we’re firmly in “what’s not to love” territory with this comic.
And with that, I think I’m pretty well exhausted of superlatives, which really didn’t take too long, did it? This should vault to the top of your “must buy” list, it well and truly is just that fucking good.
No Romance In Hell is available for $5.00 from Silver Sprocket at https://store.silversprocket.net/collections/comicsandzines/products/no-romance-in-hell-by-hyena-hell
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