Benson’s Cuckoos

Anouk Ricard, Author, Helge Dascher, Translator
Anouk Ricard, trans. from the French by Helge Dascher. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-77046-138-3
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Originally published in French as Coucous Bouzon, this comic is like a fever dream of workplace anxiety drawn by Richard Scarry for those worn down by the business grind. Richard has just started a new job at a company that makes cuckoo clocks. That’s apropos, since the boss seems at best distracted, at worse insane. He’s been hired to replace a man named George, who disappeared suddenly. As Richard tries to cope with being asked to bring his own computer and prepare presentations without supporting files, he finds himself enveloped in the growing mystery of just what happened to George. It’s silly, with much of the humor coming from what look like children’s toys shooting or propositioning each other. The art is childlike, flat and colorful, but the content is distinctly adult. The characters all have friendly animal heads—dogs, ducks, frogs, elephants—making behavior like co-worker sabotage, kidnapping, watching reality TV in filthy apartments, and such stupid work trends as business retreats and employee calisthenics all the more disturbing. Those who’ve worked office jobs with self-important, rude, or clueless coworkers (and who hasn’t?) will appreciate the satire. (May)
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