Earlier today, I was talking to a friend about how sometimes, getting involved too deeply into a fandom can leave you obsessing over craft and detail that the general public wouldn’t really enjoy, if they noticed it at all. Tales Designed to Thrizzle is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about. Although the barrage of surrealist non-sequiturs and twisted humour is enough to entertain anyone on the surface, at its core, this is a real comic-readers comic.
After all, a dedicated comics fan can really appreciate the nuance that goes into making Tales Designed to Thrizzle. The series is a constant pastiche of golden age comicbooks, from the illogical actions taken by every character, to the format, which mixes comic strips, text pieces and parody adverts, games and pin-ups. Anyone who takes their humour seriously will love it – but if you also take your comics seriously, you’ll love it that much more – it’s a mixture of Monty Python’s absurdity and Adult Swim’s nihilism that makes it funny like nothing else is. There’s an intelligence in it that is matched only by its deliberate stupidity, as Kupperman simultaneously identifies, avoids and subverts the tropes of regular comedy.
If this is sounding a bit too wanky, it’s because there’s simply no other way for me to convey the experience of reading Tales Designed to Thrizzle, except by saying “man, it’s completely wacky and, like, insane” which doesn’t do it justice. On a technical level, the book is fantastic, from the strong, simple artwork to the new colouring job, to the solid oversized hardback format. At $25 (£18) RRP, it’s an expensive buy, but the truth is, it’s completely worth it to read a comic that can’t be directly compared to anything else. It’s a testament to the comics industry that something so rooted in Kupperman’s personal tastes can be given this wide a release in the first place.
If there’s anything wrong with the collection, it’s that this much surrealism is, frankly, hard to absorb. It’s not a book you’ll read from cover to cover because in one sitting it all just blurs together, but taken properly – in short bursts, often – you’ll find yourself coming back to it again and again.
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