Another year, another opportunity to make weird shit in the name of annual closure. Unlike last year’s inaugural edition, this year’s Exquisite Corpse comic imposed an official theme on the artists: Self-Improvement. This may have been a subconscious attempt to spawn a new TMT tradition of Year-End Corpses by topping the previous offering; no one’s going to accept a tradition that devolves after Try 1. It might also have been a glimmer of a nod toward the de facto theme of last year’s comic, which seemed to be kind of about the apocalypse or something. Seeing as the world did not end last December, the only decent thing to do is to try and look up from there, right? If we don’t destroy ourselves, it must be because there’s something there worth preserving, even if it needs a major overhaul. We’ve also got some new blood in the corpse this year, as well as some old blood — a sort of partial transfusion — and what’s not self-improving about getting an influx of fresh DNA? Re-Make/Re-Model, blah blah blah.
Aside from the theme, everything went down about the same as last time. Each artist did one or two panels/pages, using only the previous artist’s installment as reference. No regulations as to medium, content, tone, etc. — anything goes, really. Despite this lack of guidelines, the end result is surprisingly cohesive, though sufficiently diverse. There’s a nice balance of irreverent levity and a sort of grim (albeit tongue-in-cheek) despair, and it fits well — even the color scheme works from one end to the other; god knows how that happens. Plus, lots of weird birds! No way you can go wrong with weird birds! In other words, we’re pretty happy with how this one turned out, especially since the goal of self-improvement seems to have been accomplished. Or, at least, no backslide. That’s all you can really ask for, anyway.
Order: Joe Hemmerling • Richard There • Anonymous • Matthew Alker • Matt Weir • K.E.T.