cover image The Illustrated Al: The Songs of “Weird Al” Yankovic

The Illustrated Al: The Songs of “Weird Al” Yankovic

“Weird Al” Yankovic et al. Z2, $29.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-954928-64-0

Yankovic’s music gets honored in a comic book comprising wacky lyrics drawn just as wackily, like an alternate goofball universe version of Paul McCartney’s Lyrics. Nearly 30 songs are given the comics treatment by artists with varying styles—be it Bill Plympton’s light-touch surrealism or Peter Bagge’s (literally) eye-popping energy—but all do justice to the material’s exuberance. The foreword by 1980s-era like-minded spirit Emo Philips nods to the peak years of Yankovic’s popularity, yet the volume mostly eschews his parody hits, save for “Smells Like Nirvana” and single panels of songs like “Fat” and “Like a Surgeon.” Some of his more recent non-parody material presents as modestly funny joke rock in the Dead Milkmen vein with the occasional political twist of the knife. “Dare to be Stupid” mocks clichés and ad slogans, ending with characters (some wearing “Incel” or “Q” shirts) running off a cliff. Often, Yankovic takes the voice of an obsessive—in “Trigger Happy” it’s gun nuts, and in “Frank’s 2000-Inch TV” it’s devotees of “the biggest screen we’ve ever seen”—and amps it to infinite degree. That spirit of excess works better in the lovelorn numbers, like “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” which Ruben Bolling cleverly draws in the saccharine style of Precious Moments. This unexpectedly heavy-hitting satiric anthology is a must-have for Yankovic fans and good-to-pick-up for any fun-loving reader. Agent: (for Yankovic) Jay Levey. (Nov.)