J & K

John Pham. Fantagraphics, $39.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-68396-222-9
Pham (Sublife) crafts a funny and surprisingly affecting story of two slacker friends and their marginal lifestyles. Jay and Kay steal taco rolls from their friend Eggy’s party, encounter Glumpires at the mall, seek out soulless minimum-wage employment, tramp through graveyards, and masquerade as cats and dogs in a Garfield riff. There is a central sweetness to all of the oddness on display; every character deals with sadness, loneliness, and trauma. Even a scene as grotesque as Jay giving “birth” to a pimple-creature they name “Bacne” is rendered semi-adorable in Pham’s hands, thanks in part to his soft day-glow color scheme. The design matches the ephemeral feel of the characters’ existence, floating through a world they don’t quite relate to. Jay, Kay, and Eggy (who is drawn with a face made up of a trypophobia-inducing cluster of lumps) take solace in old magazines, obscure music and video games, and other disposable culture that’s beautiful only to them. Pham includes posters, stickers, a 5” vinyl record, and other ephemera as part of the physical package of the volume, tied to its characters’ obsessions. This jumble of gags and lovable and loving outsiders succeeds through sheer, unrelenting weirdness. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/27/2019
Release date: 08/27/2019
Genre: Comics
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