Monday, October 29, 2012
Illustrated by David Yoder
Learn of the Vaudeville team you never heard of--because they were terrible! This story of two men who should have been doing anything else but comedy comes to life as David Yoder spins a friendship into a tribute of a bygone era, taking a real-life friend and turning him into a horrible humorist.
Anyone who knows me personally is aware of my fondness for old comedy teams, so when a comic opens with depictions of George Burns and Laurel and Hardy, I'm pretty much sold. Though Yoder's likenesses are a bit rough at the edges (perhaps due to this being a NaNo-related project in its origins), the setting is perfect and does a great job of preparing the reader for what follows.
As the comic proceeds, we see just how bad Ryland and Yoder are as comedians, with a great veiled reference to a cartoon art school along the way. (Nothing like an inside joke/playful jab.) The two have misadventure after misadventure, eventually returning together just in time to be dirty old men. Bundled around scenes of a narrator who begins as though he's Peter Graves for biography and slowly ends up acting more like the Criminologist.
The jokes here are more of a dry kind than laugh out loud funny. You definitely need to know what Yoder is referencing to find them funny, but this isn't a problem for me, as he's working well within my personal wheelhouse. The timing and pacing of the satire is just about right, and I like that Yoder has notes about what he was thinking as he worked on the comic. All of the things we see Ryland and Yoder doing as their careers fail and falter echo the real lives of the actors who started treading the boards and ended up treading water.
David has placed Mr. Ryland and Mr. Yoder online, and anyone who is a fan of old comedy should check it out, or pick up a copy for yourself!