Heartbroken Angels

Masahiko Kikuni, Author Viz Media $15.95 (100p) ISBN 978-1-56931-437-1
Here's a collection of off-color gags that's at once charming, disgusting and laugh-out-loud funny. Originally appearing in the pages of Pulp magazine and released now in graphic novel format, the manga (Japanese comics) work is a series of four panel one-liners set vertically two to a page, with an occasional series blown up over two full pages for striking visual effect. The lineup of endearing, albeit repulsive, characters includes a very young sex-crazed couple (the girl wears the ubiquitous Japanese school uniform) whose encounters parody presumptions of sexual innocence with punch lines about kinky fantasies and scatology. There's a comics artist (Kikuni himself?) whose sexual response is ritualistically heightened by humiliating comments about his minuscule penis. Then there's a daft father and son duo so poor that the boy is reduced to using soy sauce as pigment for an art class assignment. Kikuni's cute, cartoonish drawings work along with his twisted stories and characters to boost the strip's shock value and to keep the humor fresh. His sensibility is reminiscent of the dark comedy of the old Mad and Cracked magazines, but nothing in those classics ever approached the guilty pleasures of this work. Bound to offend more chaste sensibilities, Kikuni's stories will trigger laughs for everyone else. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 184 pages - 978-1-56931-627-6
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