Hot Dog beach #2 by Lale Westvind

Color wraparound cover, 48 interior black and white pages, 9 x 12. $5

Well, I’ve written about Westvinds comics quite a bit at this point—-I really think they are some of the best comics I’ve seen in a long, long time. But man, I was not accepting the phenomenal leap in achievement that Hot Dog Beach #2 demonstrates. Westvinds world of characters expands a thousand fold in this one—Hot Dog Beach #1 had a few characters and a relatively simple landscape that they all lurched around. This edition, you can feel Westvind slipping deep into her characters world and wanting to get it all to look the right way: The hallway looks THIS way, and the secretary looks THIS way.

 In fact, ‘getting it to look right’ misses the point. Westvind actually wants it to all look as rich and overflowing with creative energy as possible. A secretary character isnt scribbled off as set dressing, Instead, every character (or wall, or chair, or eyeball) is an oppurtunity to pour out drawing, character design, humor, and intricate compositional work. The story is RELISHED here, and we relish it too, because Westvind is in some kind of crazy zine where she has the energy to draw it all and make it look razor sharp—and vastly fun.

 My favorite sequence here involves a hired motocyclist named Dinky spitting at a snake. Westvind spends so much energy drawing Dinky turning to spit that you almost want to cheer. The amazing part is, Hot Dog Beach is full of moments like this and for all their pleasure, the story itself chugs right along.