Inside 'Apartments' by Simon Hanselmann
Hanselmann's latest zine is focused on Owl, the tortured avian normie of his Megg, Mogg and Owl universe. Touted as the 'farewell' to the character, is this really the final breaking point of the character?
The stories and characters in the xeroxed pages of Simon Hanselmann's self-published zines don't break the mold, but with each subsequent entry showcase more and more of the personality of each character. It is easy for the casual reader to knock the series down as a stoner comedy, but in reality these damaged characters and all the fucked up situations and abuse they put each other through ride the fine line between drama and horror. Owl is without a doubt main punching bag of the series, usually trying to live a quiet normal life but constantly getting roped into the antics of the rest of the cast.
The first two stories "Owl Tries a Thing" and "Bathing It" are classic Hanselmann bits, showcasing not only his character's ability to verbally destroy each other's confidence in an instant but also show the strength of the characters. For those who have become attached to Megg, Mogg, Owl and Werewolf Jones in the longform comics and really gotten to know their personality, it's still impressive how much enjoyment you can get out of just a few pages of these characters hanging out and shooting the shit. The third story "Hellraiser" employs another of Hanselmann's tropes that we've seen a few times but it still always hits you in the gut. A few pages in you see the characters actually enjoying each other's company and the incredibly elusive act of kindness from Werewolf Jones. You know the floor is going to drop out and someone is going to get hurt, but it really gets pushed to the next level and true to Hanselmann's credit, it really does seem like Owl has passed the point of no return. Only time will tell if Owl is out for good and how he will remain in future stories, but as anybody who gets the chance to snag one of Simon's limited MMO zines from his webstore can attest, every new page we get are some of the best comics being produced right now.
More information about Simon Hanselmann's zines and characters can be found at both his Tumblr as well as his BigCartel shop. Most of the self-published zines are put out on timed release and sell out quickly. Collected editions of the long-form stories are available from Fantagraphics Books.