cover image Premillennial Maakies: The First Five Years

Premillennial Maakies: The First Five Years

Tony Millionaire, . . Fantagraphics, $24.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-778-0

Whatever your views on good taste are, Millionaire crossed that line somewhere a few counties back. In this alternative newspaper staple, antiheroes Drinky Crow and his monkey friend Uncle Gabby end most strips drinking themselves to oblivion or blowing their heads off (or both). There's a mad glee in their propensity to always do what is most inappropriate, whether that's contracting a venereal disease from the figurehead of the 19th-century ship they are frequently aboard or answering an existential musing with a few sticks of dynamite. Millionaire's art is astounding in its baroque density, recalling both 19th-century woodcuts and classic children's illustrations. Premillennial Maakies , which gathers four previous Maakies collections into one tasty, Chip Kidd–designed package, is packed with social commentary and obscure references—one of the strips even features the artist pondering his own deluded creation. It's hilarious, in a vaguely horrifying sort of way. Millionaire's work could not be summed up better than with the strip he ends this collection with. "Say, what are you laughing at?" one man asks another. The reply: "Just the horror of being alive." (Nov.)