The Definitive Pekin

Written by Jonathan Pekin
Illustrated by Jonathan Pekin

You have to admire the tongue-in-cheek self-depreciation of Jonathan Pekin. He puts "A Collection of Brilliance" on the cover, which, along with the cover illustrations I have to the left of this text, show you that Pekin is not trying to take himself too seriously. He's out to have some fun drawing a comic or two.

That fun shows in the completely irreverent tone of the comics within. Pekin takes pains to warn people that his comics are not for those with sensitive taste, even saying as much when I got this from him at SPX. However, I am a person who enjoys comics that wouldn't even make it to the front door of the old Comics Code Authority, so I have no issue with the jokes Pekin makes or his style of drawing miserable people in the most miserable way possible.

It's not Pekin's artwork that would offend anyone (though perhaps a very realistic portrayal of a middle-aged man with no desire to face real life could be seen as offensive) so much as his jokes. In my favorite section, one-page jokes, there are references to necrophelia, suicide, and abuse of all kinds. It's the kind of joke that you look at, say out loud "That's really wrong," and start laughing anyway.

Okay, well at least *I* did.

The closing story is, I think, part of something larger. It features a person in a dead-end job (again, drawn to look as unhappy as possible) who apparently is going to meet her fate at the hands of heavy bags of cat food. What a way to go!

Pekin mentions that this is a good overview of his comics work, and if so, I think it's the kind of comics work I'd like to see more of, though I admit I think I preferred the shorter hits to the two longer stories. If you like South Park style humour, I think you'd dig this. Just be aware that it's not for everyone, which is just fine. That's why there's thousands of comics made each year.

I liked this "Definitive" edition of Pekin's comics, and I hope we get to see the longer work he hints at by SPX next year. You can find some samples of Pekin's work at his website. Give it a try and pick up his comic if you see him at a show near you.