Comics Time: Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4

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Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4

Michael Kupperman, writer/artist

Fantagraphics, 2008

32 pages

$4.50

Buy it from Fantagraphics

If God didn’t hate us all, we’d live in a world where there’d be some way for Michael Kupperman, Johnny Ryan, and Matt Furie to do a world tour in every way the humor comics equivalent of that Guns n’ Roses/Metallica/Faith No More tour my parents wouldn’t let me go to back in ’91–selling out stadiums, inspiring bootleg T-shirts sold in parking lots filled with drunk drivers, and causing riots when Ryan gets in a fistfight with Stephanie Seymour and blows off a show in Toronto out of frustration. But here we are, and the best we can do is get a new issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle and laugh ourselves stupid.

I think the key to Kupperman’s humor, aside from the mechanical precision of his artwork (watching him contribute to my Bowie sketchbook was fairly astonishing in how painstaking the process was), is how his jokes don’t so much wander as trail off into platonic simplicity. My guess is that his non sequitur structuring puts a lot of people in mind of Monty Python, but Python tended to go from one full-fledged idea into another, even if that other was totally random and disconnected from the original. Kupperman, by contrast, kind of whittles away at his opening gambits until they reveal purer and purer strands of nonsense. The best example here is a parody of an old educational filmstrip about harbors–the set-up goes after how boring filmstrips are, the first set of gags riffs on the kinds of information presented in filmstrips through exaggeration, the second set spoofs the Statue of Liberty through absurdity, the third set entails physical impossibilities, and by the end he’s just repeating the word “Harbors!” over and over and over eight times in a row. It’s a can-you-top-this game pitting Kupperman against logic in a battle to the death. Kupperman wins.

That incredibly boring explanation of comedy will hopefully not discourage you from buying a comic that features…

* Indian Spirit Chewing Gum – Haunted with Dead Indian Flavor (“The tribes of my people used to cover the land, as numberless as the buffalo. Now we are dead and inside your sticks of chewing gum.” – Big Chief Running Commentary)

* Loose-cannon TV-show cops Mark Twain and Albert Einstein (Twain: “Sometimes I get fed up with these Fourth-Amendment punks and their ‘rights’!” Einstein: “Scum disgusts me”)

* N’Sync in “Pirate Scum Are We” (“Pirate scum are we / Sailing o’er the sea / We’ll die with our mates / For pieces of eight / Baby I love youuu…”)

* Pottie’s – For the best of today’s toilet comedians (“Don’t you hate it when it won’t go down?” – Larry Ronco, February 11th)

* “Hell Is for Monkees” (“‘Buried alive!’ Mike Nesmith whispered softly. The words had a terrible finality.”)

I don’t know what it is about actually funny humor comics that turns me into such a bald-faced salesman, but for real, I urge you to purchase this comic book.

4 Responses to Comics Time: Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4

  1. Jim Treacher says:

    Kupperman is hilarious! I didn’t realize it had been 2 years since the last issue. Silliness takes time.

  2. Bruce Baugh says:

    Okay, this sounds like my cuppa.

  3. [...] now I’ve written about how Kupperman’s humor works at some length, so you’d think it would have occurred [...]

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