Johnny Ryan’s XXX Scumbag Party

Johnny Ryan, Author . Fantagraphics $18.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-56097-867-1

Complaining that Ryan’s comics are grossly offensive, stupid and juvenile is like complaining that water is wet: that’s the entire point. The raison d’être of Ryan’s work is pushing beyond the limits of tasteless humor into pure gross-out overload; the joke isn’t the punch line itself, but how horrible the punch line is. This collection mostly compiles short stories from his Angry Youth Comics series, featuring recurring characters Boobs Pooter, Blecky Yuckerella, Loady McGee and Sinus O’Gynus, as well as his single-panel gag cartoons. (Sample caption: “Whoa! Check out the size of the tits on that concentration camp!” Actually, most of Ryan’s jokes are unrepeatable in this magazine.) Ryan’s sense of outrageousness is as tediously limited as a sixth-grader’s; his repertoire is almost entirely excretory and/or sexual, with the odd decapitation or racist gag thrown in for variety. Occasionally, there’s a flash of actual wittiness, like his brief, scatological “condensations” of Charles Burns’s Black Hole and Craig Thompson’s Blankets . Mostly, though, it’s poop jokes, drawn in a flat bigfoot style that recalls old Playboy cartoonists without their élan or whimsy. A page or two of Ryan, if you’re in exactly the right mood, can be nasty fun. An entire book’s worth is just about unbearable. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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