December 16, 2013

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Monday Saddies! #2

[Note: This is an adult comic, kiddos. The review will discuss it accordingly. You've been warned. -Rob]

Written and Illustrated by Steve Seck
Self-Published

A series of short comics about people and objects that will make anyone feel better about themselves, because at least they aren't that much of a loser, crafted by the master of misanthropes, Steve Seck.

In the first Monday Saddies!, which I reviewed earlier this year, Seck took on the popular Hanna Barbara Yogi Bear characters, turning them into horrible versions of themselves with co-dependency and abusive tendencies. This time around he's taken a different tack, creating a series of short comics that fits the theme of the title better, I think. Given this is a giant riff on Sunday Funnies, seeing a larger group of characters, even if they are all penned by by the same creator.

The best one of the group is the one-pager starring God, taken from an actual Biblical passage in Genesis. A happy farmer has an accident while sowing, and learns that it isn't just sperm that God  condemns you for leaving around the joint. Completely wordless and drawn without a single exaggeration, Seck's comedic timing has never been better than this one. I laughed and re-read it multiple times, with it only getting funnier every time as the hapless, smiling sun looks on as though this is perfectly normal.

Working backward, the main characters in this story are Ghost Roommate and Doug, featured on the cover. Doug's a pothead with a dead end job, and when he gets some weed of dubious quality, his singe occupancy apartment gains a spectral visitor who also has a drug habit and a huge memory gap, having died in the 1980s.

Learning quickly from his Ghost ID that he was black (thanks to a comedic misreading of the information), the stoned poltergeist tries to adapt to a life he's never known, thinking that perhaps seeing Lone Wolf McQuade will set him free. (Spoiler: Nah!) There's a fair number of stoner jokes in here, most of which hit the mark, as Seck finds a way to make it work without feeling played out. I'm not the biggest fan of stoner style humor (yet strangely I absolutely love Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny), but I laughed at things like the fact that discussing an atheist ghost is lost in a desire to toke up and enjoy infomercials.

Seck's linework here is in his standard style, using thin, angular lines to create characters we mostly see in full-figure medium shots. They emote vigorously in front of minimal backgrounds, with the focus on the verbal wordplay backed up by just the right shot of the characters to reinforce the joke.

While the Ghost Roommate stories are more straightforward, Locker Junk gives Seck a chance to show off his ability to be really weird. A grouping of characters, including a religious rubber band, a Jackass-style comedy obsessed leftover soda, and a philosophical sandwich, are stuck in the locker of a typical school boy with a cell phone he can't keep in class, so it's viewed by his various objects. Chaos ensues when something is rotten in the state of Denmark, leaving the sandwich off on a quest to find the locker elders, who aren't of any help, while the soda makes friends with gym clothes that are on its intellectual level.

The signature Seck wit comes though again, with the Sandwich playing straightman to the antics of the other characters, including some so devolved they are down to primal teen boy desires (bass riffs and naughty words). The situation builds to a climax that finds the Sandwich is the odd person out as the crew look forward to hours upon hours of a flatulent donkey and its aroused penis.

In this story, Seck has a lot of fun depicting things left in a locker, giving them the most disgusting looks whenever possible. Speaking as someone who's helped with locker clean out, that's entirely accurate, let me tell you. It's fun to see him drawing pieces of food and other bits, and the best part is his keeping the actual donkey out of the reader's eyesight for the entire piece. An odd story that combines the classic slow burn with cheap fart jokes, Seck's right in his element.

Monday Saddies is not going to be for folks who like their comics respectful or Important(TM). Oddly, because he doesn't draw haphazard images, this doesn't quite fit into the rawer edge of comics where most of its humorous analogues exist. It's a combination of a refined, restricted art style with some of the dumbest  funny jokes you're going to find in a comic, and that works fine for me.

If you think it might work for you, too, go to Steve's website and have a look.