Turtle, Keep it Steady!
By Joseph Lambert
One Percent Press
Of the books I received at MoCCA, I have read and re-read Joseph Lambert’s books most frequently. Today I’m going to tell you about Turtle, Keep it Steady! but I also recommend that you read I Will Bite You or Bait and Switch to enjoy more of Lambert’s art and ideas.
When I think back to meeting Lambert at MoCCA, I remember he was pretty quiet and really polite about other One Percent Pressers giving me a bunch of his comics for free. Particularly because now that I’ve read them, I realize he should be paid hundreds if not billions of dollars to create such lovely images.
Turtle, Keep it Steady! is a play on an old adage to the effect of “steady wins the race.” You probably remember Swiftly Hare and Slowly Turtle heading towards the finish line. In this spin on an old favorite, Turtle and Hare are drummers until Hare rocks a little too hard. When Hare burns out, bumming the crowd and stopping the party, Turtle hammers on. The book ends in a flourish of dance and music. It’s marvelous.
The comics are simply, beautifully, black ink drawings on white paper. The book is nicely folded, cut and stapled. Everything is neat and clean and well-placed on the page. Images don’t glut up the space, they live perfectly in their squares. Each page is filled with a single panel of the story, which I guess you could ironically admit paces the comic pretty well.
There are very few words to carry the plot above the title phrase, “Turtle, keep it steady!”, which gets repeated throughout the comic. The characters are funny little animals on their hind legs (for purpose of dancing) and some of them have glasses. When cartoon animals act like people it can creep me out, but Lambert’s animals have tiny black dots for eyes instead of glazed-over Looney Tunes eyeballs. They look inexplicably odd standing around, giving the effect of “Oh cute, they think they’re people,” which is something you might think about your dog when it howls in conversation.
Turtle, Keep it Steady! is fun and ridiculous and incredibly cute. Even when Hare is boozing it up with his girlfriend and making little Hares, it only adds to the surprise. Her ears are tied back in a ponytail! How weird and silly and smart.
More beautiful and strange comics can be found on Lambert’s website: submarinesubmarine.com