01/09/2009. Contributed by Eamonn Murphy
pub: Fantagraphics. 160 page hardback. Price: $24.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-60699-164-0.
check out website: www.fantagraphics.com
This book collects four issues of Michael Kupperman's 'beloved comic book' of tales designed to thrizzle. Each magazine is divided into an adult, kid's and an old people's sections with strict instructions to the reader not to read outside the appropriate section.
These are very short tales, often not more than a page and sometimes only three or four panels. There is a great variety and it is all complete nonsense. In 'Snake 'n' Bacon Meet History's Sauciest Nobleman', a snake and a piece of bacon meet Casanova. He is delighted to meet them but goes off to please two young ladies off-stage. The snake only says 'ssss' but the bacon has a variety of quips such as, 'Wipe me with a paper towel to remove excess grease' and 'I go well with eggs.'
Another story is about 'Boybank' the hottest new boy band who sing songs about money. They are introduced by Chris the leader. 'Tony is the fun one and can usually be seen skateboarding with an ice cream in each hand' and 'Primo is an Australian desert frog. In between periods of rainfall he conserves moisture by hiding himself in a hole in the ground.' You get the idea, I hope. This is fast, madcap crazy humour of the Monty Python sort but in cartoon form.
The little stories are interspersed with advertisements. There is a fabulous nut bra, made of nuts and a robot that will do foreplay for you, saving you the bother. There are also 'factual' features such as 'How to understand criminal finger talk' and 'A look into the near future'.
It's absurdist comic humour. Michael Kupperman is a talented draftsman and the style of the drawings varies a lot. There is an awful lot of invention, too, from the mind of just one man. It's 160 pages of very fast jokes and if nothing else you get an awful lot of content for your money.
Or is it a lot of awful content? No, not really. For the right audience, and the right audience is older teenagers and undergraduates, this is undoubtedly a good laugh. Kupperman is an American and we have the same kind of humour in England with 'Viz', though it probably has more toilet humour than the Americans would like. Really this is the kind of book which necessitates a trip to an old-fashioned physical book emporium where you can pick it up and scan it for yourself to see if you like it. Thirty five years ago, I would have thought it great but now I am an old, old man. It's okay though.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA