cover image Mr. Colostomy

Mr. Colostomy

Matthew Thurber. Drawn and Quarterly, $24.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-77046-547-3

Thurber (Art Comic) is at his hilariously surreal best in this collection of his loosely connected daily strips, each page of which was constructed spontaneously. Thurber revisits old characters like talking horse Mr. Colostomy, a detective who investigates, among other things, art crimes. He’s hired to find two children who disappeared, as “when the sun sets [they] become particles.” Thurber alternates between picking up threads of a sort-of plot, but more often this is abandoned to all-out silliness, with flights of fancy that include puns, cultural critiques, and visual gags—sometimes all at the same time, as when longtime Thurber character Groomfiend the mouse detective gets confused why they’re showing old Jem cartoons at an “outrageous” Whitney biennial show, where a reference to Aunt Jemima completes the jokey cultural critique. He turns absurd concepts into bits that are built on their own internal logic, like a bat devoted to science spinning a ludicrous story about partying physicists. Thurber’s art ranges from carefully inked cross-hatching to full-color weekend strips to smudged pencils. While he may defy convention, that’s rather the point of this relentless, wickedly smart comedic assault. (Mar.)