Ice Cream Man # 23
Written by: W. Maxwell Price
Art by: Martin Morazzo
Colors by: Chris O’Halloran
And now for something disturbingly different. That’s one take on Issue # 23 of Image Comics Ice Cream Man. If you’re anything like me you’re used to the corrupted confectionaires of Mr. Sacchrine, but still, this issue is different. Both in the manner it is presented and the message.
Our opening panel introduces us to a yet unknown cast of characters soon to have their taste buds (and lives) knocked for a loop by the Ice Cream Man. This comic isn’t usually known for making big deals of who each individual is, so taking account of who we are meeting gives a hint at where this story might go. A late night talk show is the stage for all these intertwined lives to unravel. All thanks to the special guest of the victim, I mean host, Mack Benson.
As Mack’s second guest of the night Mr. Sacchrine showcases his exotic animal collection. Already the scene is set for Mack’s treat from the Ice Cream Man. However, what follows is split between the events and the accounts. While the artists only give brief glimpses, kinda like when a television show having a bit of technical difficulties, the writing is what fills in the gaps. Piece by piece, we get feelings each individual in Mack’s life about what transpired during the taping, and about Mack as an individual. Unlike other issues of this series, we don’t have to guess why Mr. Benson got what some would say he deserved. There’s a new item on the menu. An issue that didn’t ask me to read between the lines.
I have read my fair share of comics over my lifetime. It’s nothing new for there to be some opening Prologue, detailing something the reader should know. More recently charts and graphs have begun to pop scattered in the pages of comics. These accounts help point out details that just can’t be conveyed visually. But Issue # 23 of Ice Cream Man is different, there is possibly a 50/50 ratio to what you read and what is drawn. So my first thought was “did something happen? Why is the issue this way? Was there a delay with the art or a spat with the publisher?l
On the final pages, this comic served up one last helping of sinisterly sweet stoicism. We read stories; then, read into them. Sometimes, that ends up making more of a story than there really is. And for what? Do we end up better for the morals we squeeze out of these tales. Do the Mack Benson’s of the world get what they deserve? And what do they deserve? With the latest issue of Ice Cream Man this Image series continues to serve up questions about our society.