Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6
Michael Kupperman, writer/artist
Fantagraphics, April 2010
Aw, bummer, this one isn’t that good! I never thought I’d be saying this, but this issue of Michael Kupperman’s heretofore unfailingly, unflaggingly hilarious humor series is kind of flat. That manic twisting-and-turning of his, where each new panel or turn of the page can completely upend the premise of the previous one, is nowhere to be found. You don’t know how disappointing it is for a die-hard Kupperfan to discover that, say, the “Jungle Princess” story begins and ends with the same jungle-heroine premise. Yeah, it’s funny that she dresses the exact same way in her city-dweller “secret identity,” and there are some cute sight gags involving jungle creatures doing unusual things, but that’s as you’d expect it to be. Similarly, a Richie Rich parody in which the little rich kid eats jewels ends with him needing surgery to remove the jewels from his intestines; the story of a has-been Broadway actress in danger of getting upstaged by her new production’s elaborate drainage system ends with her getting upstaged by her new production’s elaborate drainage system; Einstein and Twain in space is basically just Einstein and Twain in space, and though it does end with the out-of-nowhere death of director Tony Scott, it’s your basic “spaceship lands on someone annoying” gag. (I preferred it when Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie wished that the crashing spaceship at the end of This Island Earth would land on, of all people, Kenny Loggins.) Kupperman’s unmistakable art is as meticulously constructed as ever–I’ve seen him draw and I still can’t figure out how he does it–and the appealing color work still lets his uncanny linework shine, but beyond that? It’s like half of the ideas fell out someplace, and you keep waiting and waiting for craziness that never comes.