Writer/Artist: Gordon Johnston
In the world of small press comics, it can sometimes be difficult for a new title to stand out from the rest of the pack. Thankfully, that’s clearly not going to be a problem for Hot Schitt, a glorious comic pastiche of 80s action move excess from Gordon Johnston. In a marketing masterstroke, Johnson has packaged this 20 page one-shot as a classic VHS videotape (see below), complete with sleeve art, typically over-the-top blurb and – as you’d probably expect – a well-earned 18 rating.
Delivered as trailer for a fictional no-holds-barred 80s action-thriller featuring maverick L.A. cop Jack Schitt waging war on the biggest underworld gangs in the city, it’s essentially little more than series of short scenes, each designed to set up a Schitt/shit pun (“He just got Schitt-faced”, “Schitt just happened”, etc.). Johnston manages to make it work, though, fully embracing the over-the-top absurdity of the 80s action movie genre throughout.
Okay, so if you’re looking for an actual story then you’re likely to come away bitterly disappointed, as this is very much in the ‘action movie trailer’ mould as it lurches from one ludicrous set piece to another at a rapid-fire pace. Yes, there are some hints at the plot of the fictional movie if you’re willing to piece things together, but above all else this is a showcase for Johnston’s twisted sense of humour and obvious love of excessive action movie bravado.
The black and white artwork is effective, with Johnston packing expression and dynamism into his pages, and while the level of detail definitely ebbs and flows slightly throughout the course of the 20 pages, the overall aesthetic is an impressive one, and the action scenes – the car chases in particular – are handled with a real flair.
Oh, and if that’s not enough, Johnston also throws in a few little bonus extras for good measure, including a list of some of the awards that Hot Schitt has garnered (including “Most Punches to the Neck”) and a handy lyric sheet for the Hot Schitt theme song, “You Don’t Know Jack” from El Gordo.
Simply put, if Hot Schitt were an actual movie (and it’s a crime that it isn’t), it would have undoubtedly garnered a massive cult following, and would probably currently in talks for a fairly terrible and universally condemned reboot.
As it stands, we’ll have to make do with this glorious trailer, and if you get the opportunity, I highly recommend that you take a moment to “witness the Schittness”, folks. You can thank me later.