cover image Mary Tyler MooreHawk

Mary Tyler MooreHawk

Dave Baker. Top Shelf, $29.99 (276p) ISBN 978-1-60309-536-5

Part sprawling adventure series, part manic satire of fandom, this deliciously overstuffed graphic novel never stops to catch its breath. Baker (Everyone Is Tulip) warps a meta-narrative around the discovery of a comic book that he claims in the introduction was “gifted” to him from the future. Spunky “teen sleuth” Mary Tyler MooreHawk, who wears Afro-puffs markedly similar to a certain cartoon mouse, is forever fighting off hordes of monsters, robotic spiders, and supervillains. Interleaved with those action-packed comics episodes are issues of a zine (written also by “Dave Baker”) from a dystopian future where after the “Blue Purge,” outlaw collectors called “Physicalists” seek out episodes of a short-lived series adaptation of Mary Tyler MooreHawk, broadcast via dishwasher. Readers confused by the specifics of dishwasher TV will still easily get lost in the labyrinthine tangles of MooreHawk’s escapades, which are drawn in tight lines with a furious intensity that matches the narrative’s exuberant layering of classic sci-fi plotting, hilariously named sidekicks (Foxtrot Gator Foxtrot, Amy Deathdealer), dense footnotes, quirky backstory, and self-serious navel-gazing (see faux-academic reference to “inimitable Bakerian visual tropes”). Nonstop cheeky asides and nods to everything from Mickey Mouse to Ultraman show off Baker’s piratical spirit without dampening the volume’s originality. This energizing whirlwind will entice fans of Philip K. Dick and David Foster Wallace. (Feb.)