Comics Time: Show Off

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Show Off

Mark Burrier, writer/artist

self-published, 2009

20 pages

$3

Buy it from MarkBurrier.com

This is pretty much exactly what the minicomic was invented for: A lovely little object designed as a showcase for an entertaining idea expressed through formal play. It’s a comic book, not a graphic novel or an anthology, and you get the sense that Mark Burrier, a talented illustrator who’s been serving up gorgeous minis like this for some time, wouldn’t have it any other way. Content-wise, it reads like a stand-up comedy version of Anders Nilsen’s Monologues characters–barely-there stick-figure outlines falling apart, only instead of spouting philosophical snippets in order to show the inadequacy of such frameworks in light of their plight, they’re just being dicks to each other. Various legless characters say things like “You think you’re better than me?” or “I don’t feel like getting up today,” while the more fortunate in the leg department either self-deprecate (“You only love me for my leg”) or condescend (“I’m so embarrassed for you”). My favorite gag, however, is a non sequitur: Standing on his single remaining leg and speaking into a microphone, one figure says “This is such a surprise! I don’t want to forget to thank anyone.” Maybe that’s a statement about how even the elite have their inadequacies, or maybe it’s just a funny thing to do with a one-legged stick figure. Who cares when the cardstock covers have such a killer endpage design? This is a slight thing, but it’s the slightness that makes it feel like your 300 pennies were well spent.