Mean

Steven Weissman, Author . Fantagraphics $16.95 (119p) ISBN 978-1-56097-866-4

This delightful collection spotlights early work by Weissman, whose recent Chewing Gum in Church and Kid Firechief have generated much deserved acclaim. Weissman is the increasingly rare cartoonist whose simple, lush works hide a wicked intelligence and biting wit. He employs a classic, almost 1950s graphic style to tell stories of mischievous children. In this collection, Weissman focuses on a cast of monster kids, including Li'l Bloody (a kid vampire), Kid Medusa (a child Medusa), Pullapart Boy (his limbs pop off) and others. These twisted little ones are like the Peanuts gang on a bad acid trip. They punch, bite, kick and abuse one another in their eternal quest for friendship and mayhem. Weissman always walks the line between the comedic and the corny, but his pacing, dialogue and drawing is spot-on throughout. There's nothing quite like Kid Medusa feeling lonely or Pullapart Boy in shambles. The characters heighten all the universal childhood feelings with grotesque flair. Also included is a lengthy adventure featuring Rip Van Helsing, which is must reading, as is the whole book. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/24/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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