"I read this as a nightmarish allegory of the harsh, dehumanizing demands of Being a Man in our culture - even if that’s off the mark I’ll not soon forget its chilling final line: ‘It is going to hurt and hurt and hurt.’ "
"Movement dominates this piece. Whether it’s the protagonist’s struggle to rise from the ground, or the amount of panel space dedicated to running, jumping and kicking, Training works to move a reader’s eye from the get-go. It wastes not a second, taking even 2/3’s of the cover to tell story rather than position a decadent logo or pinup. This is Josh Simmons as not a gross-out gag heathen; this is a cartoonist chasing efficiency.”
On Habit #1:
"I just love the deceptively cute cover of this anthology of new stories by alt/lit horrormeister Simmons, author of Fantagraphics’ extremely frightening and boundary-shattering collection The Furry Trap. Here he works on his own and in collaboration with other writers and/or artists such as Karn Piana, Wendy Chin and something that calls itself “The Partridge in the Pear Tree.” The most outstanding piece within, though, is the solo first story, which I consider to be one of the best short comics that I have seen this year: a harrowing, cinematic and 3-dimensionally articulated depiction of the devastating repercussions on a single seaside home of a tsunami.”
"It’s overly reductive to say something like, "you have to read Josh Simmons to understand what I’m talking about when I talk about Josh Simmons," but I kind of feel like that needs to be said, so pretend I said it. Anyway, this is the first oversized comic released by Oily (well, oversized compared to their usual minicomics) and it’s a densely-packed piece of work, as Simmons and friends explore horrors large and small and cute and terrifying. It has the newest installment of Simmons ongoing "Jessica Farm" opus, by the way, and that story has gotten ca-RAZY! It’s some Johnny Ryan madness, with the Josh Simmons flair."
"Josh Simmons is a tonally similar artist [as Heather Benjamin], but at this point he’s been making comics long enough that the evident darkness of his outlook abrogates the need for the taboo-fucking gore for which he became known. "Seaside Home," the lead-off story in this one-man anthology Habit #1, is Simmons’s most nihilistic and melancholy work to date, which is saying quite a bit. Combining several of his strengths—depicting the interior and exterior of large buildings, locating horror in failed families, burying pages in debris—it tells the story of a little girl whose parents are too consumed with their own slow-motion tragedy to see that she’s slowly sinking into one as well. That the final, physical violation of this family unit and the home they inhabit is still so obviously upsetting to her—that after all this, she still has a child’s shocked disbelief that terrible things really can happen to her and the people who’ve taught her whatever she knows about love—is so fucking devastating I can hardly stand to think about it, though that doesn’t stop me. Compulsively re-reading this thing is a form of self-injury, which is about as high a compliment as I can pay."
On The Furry Trap:
"The Furry Trap removes all romance and titillation from each story’s genre roots. This isn’t exhilarating movie violence, it is down and dirty ripping, pulling and tearing. The reader can’t root for a hero because there is no heroic behavior depicted, just pure viscera. From its uncomfortable, steam-filled cover image on down, this book asks what should or shouldn’t be shown in art, and then questions what you, the reader, are looking for in your entertainment. Or rather, what you are really looking for. Then it dares to ask you, why.” [part of a longer review]
And a different perspective:
"So, this series of cartoon stories classifies itself as "horror", so I picked it up out of curiousity, because I like scary videogames, movies, and comics.
If you’ve seen the movie “Hostel”, I’d liken this book to that movie. This is only “horror” in the sense that there’s plenty of violence and depravity, and with no real reason or purpose. One of my favorite comic series is Punisher MAX, which had plenty of foul language and violence, but at least in that series the violence had a point (gang wars and vengeance); In this book, the violence just spontaneously happens for no real reason, and the whole book feels incredibly pointless.
If you just want to see ridiculous violence in cartoon form, this book may be for you perhaps, but anyone looking for actual horror should really look elsewhere.”
How about that!