Go Forth and Thrizzle

Michael Kupperman’s ‘Tales Designed to Thrizzle’ series, published by Fantagraphics, has reached lucky issue seven. And what luckier joy than some attention from Comics Vanguard?

Kupperman’s work is typically called absurdist and silly, and we’re absolutely happy to go along with those terms. Responsible for both writing and art of each issue (and presumably a bit of photography), Kupperman doesn’t go for complex storytelling or fancy narratives: his goal is mainly to make you laugh and perhaps to scratch your forehead and make confused faces. To that extent, Tales Designed to Thrizzle more or less gets the job done. Jumping around wildly, bringing fresh use to the idea of the non sequitur, the issue throws several things at the reader as it goes on. Firstly, that fictional detective Quincey is suffering from existential worries related to if he is dreaming or if he is awake. Secondly, that baths are terrifying. Thirdly, several in-jokes featuring long-running characters which don’t make much sense for new readers.

The issue is perfectly fine. There are some great jokes in there, and some that crash onto their face. In terms of humour, Kupperman quickly creates a distinct idea of dialogue and story which gives the book a lot of charm. Much of the comedy comes from his determination to play the scenes as seriously as possible, even while they grow ever more silly. There’s a particularly good Leonardo Di Caprio moment which we won’t spoil for you. But that is one of the highlights. The opening sequence, discussing the perils of bathtubs and spotlighting the imminent danger they hold, is also strong. It leads to a page of shower heads which doesn’t work, but it certainly makes the reader aware of what they’re heading into.

Kupperman’s absurdist streak serves him well, as the weaker jokes are covered with a veil of silliness which makes it very difficult for me to deliver CRITIQUE. His art is consistent, and his character likenesses are recognisable despite being slightly twisted. All in all, Tales Designed to Thrizzle is a decent, entertaining comic. But it’s not as funny as Generation Hope.

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