Something Completely Different
You Will Be Thrizzled
Tales Designed to Thrizzle: Volume One
by Michael Kupperman
(Fantagraphics Books, $24.99)
Michael Kupperman is the funniest cartoonist alive, and Tales Designed to Thrizzle is his funniest comic book. Kupperman is the master of the non-sequitur joke; probably his most famous characters are Snake 'n' Bacon, a snake and a piece of bacon who solve mysteries even though the one can only say "SSSSSS" and the other alternates between "I'm real bacon" and "I go well in a sandwich." Thrizzle has the manic joy of a really good sketch-comedy series. One page is a testimonial titled "I Bothered a Big Fish!" which ends "What could it do? NOTHING! Because it is a fish and I am a MAN!" A few pages later, Kupperman presents an illustrated essay on pornographic coloring books including Peter Pan Coloring Book (with a Bitter Whore), Young Horny Abe Lincoln: The Coloring Book of the Movie, and a coloring-book page with the Fonz from Happy Days mounting a woman at the drive-in.
Thrizzle was originally published as four comics, and Kupperman has recolored the series for its hardcover release. Each issue is divided up into three sections: the Adult Section (in which, for instance, Uncle Sam promotes Sex Blimps, calling them "the pride of the skies!"), the Kids' Section (with educational asides like a drunken guide to the animal kingdom: "A zebra is like a horse that's real stripey. You know who likes stripey things? Women! My ex-wife sure did. And jewels. I bet if she had a zebra with jewels all over it, that'd make her happy. If anything could."), and the Old People's Section (for readers over 82, featuring an episode of The Buzz Aldrin Mysteries titled "Murder on the Moon... Again!").
Kupperman's sense of humor calls back to the weirdly stiff silver age of comic books, and comics fans might find a little bit more to laugh at here. But Thrizzle, which was recently adapted into an Adult Swim semianimated series (starring Kristen Schaal as, among other things, a magical wish-granting fairy), should amuse just about anyone who can read. When it seems as though the entire field of cartooning is running headlong for mainstream acceptance by being serious and literary, it's heartening to read a comic book that actually takes the "comic" part literally.