Postage Stamp Funnies

Shannon Wheeler, Author, Shannon Wheeler, Illustrator . Dark Horse $9.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-59307-983-3

The best thing about this project by Too Much Coffee Man creator Wheeler is its package: three tiny hardcover books inside a minuscule slipcase that recalls Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library. The books themselves collect the weekly comic strip Wheeler draws for the Onion : a single gag panel the size of a postage stamp. The jokes themselves are, by necessity, mighty simple—so simple, in fact, that they’re not actually all that funny, despite the classic magazine-cartoon setups most of them riff on. The most charitable interpretation is that Wheeler is trying to devise gags that just barely qualify as humor. (Woman to duck: “I’ve had it with your fowl language.” Chess piece: “I’m sick of being a pawn.” One man on a park bench to another: “I feel like I should be saying something funny.” That’s over 3% of the cartoons in this set right there, and quite a few of the rest are poop jokes.) Occasionally, hints of Wheeler’s warm, fluid linework from his bigger work shine through the format’s enforced minimalism, and there are a few bits of cute formal play (a man yelling “Aaarg!” as he’s skewered by the tail of his own word balloon, for instance). (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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