Absurdist fiction (I guess)
Adults, teens; gore, ultraviolence, profanity.
In my long quest to read and evaluate every graphic novel ever
written, I have developed a very strong stomach. Still,
there have been four graphic novels to date that I simply could
not finish: The Story of O ("classic" bondage
story adapted by Guido Crepax), Ed the Happy Clown by
Chester Brown (chaotic, pointless toilet humor), Thick Black
Kiss by Howard Chaykin (combination of incoherent story and
gag-reflex-triggering sex) and this lovely critter. I dutifully
plowtered my way through until I realized that I was about to
put it down for these reasons:
- Distasteful subject matter. Two years ago this wouldn't
even have been a factor... but I live in Colorado, and murderous
rampages have stopped being funny.
- Revenge fantasy. I have yet to read a revenge fantasy
that isn't self-indulgent and juvenile. God knows I have revenge
fantasies (particularly when driving), but they indicate MY childishness,
not the "deservedness" of my would-be targets.
- Hard-to-read lettering. Boy, could I do without the
backwards E's and no-leading word balloons.
- Meaningless satire. Yeah, so we all hate poll-takers.
It sure is annoying when the 7-11 man turns off the Frostee machine.
The solution is to blow them away? Wow, that'll sure teach 'em
that what they were doing was evil. Violence is the first refuge
of the incompetent satirist. Also, a lot of the targets are so
obvious or overblown that they're self-parodies without any help
from a homicidal maniac; their destruction is anti-climactic.
- Pretentious speechifying. JTHM is given to long monologues
about violence etc. Yawn. I presume these are meant to be funny,
deep, wise, or ironic. They aren't.
- Same joke repeated over and over. This is what bugged
me the most. This is an extremely one-note comic. The same damn
things happen in each episode.
Curious, I checked Amazon for reviews of this title and found
29 wildly enthusiastic ones, many proclaiming Vasquez a "genius."
Sorry, folks, but drawing comics in which a character kills people
and then speechifies (or vice-versa) does not qualify as genius.
(I'm now thinking of Lout Rampage,
a far superior set of parodies and satires, in which Dan Clowes
predicts that "Everybody who ever recorded anything will
at some point be called a 'genius' by somebody...." So true,
I suppose this book appeals to ultra-alienated teens or adults
who constantly imagine horrible deaths for persons perpetuating
real and imagined slights. The rest of us can safely pass.