The physical weight of this book makes me want to give it a poor review. It's heavy. It feels like the pages wouldn't stand up to multiple readings, wThe physical weight of this book makes me want to give it a poor review. It's heavy. It feels like the pages wouldn't stand up to multiple readings, which is just as well since there's not much here that begs me to return for a second look. One of my favorite things about graphic novels is how well the best ones stand up to repeated visits, like a favorite movie or show. As it stands, I'm actually hoping someone asks to borrow this from me and inevitably fails to return it so I can make some room in my bookcase. BBB really would have benefitted from some editing. It feels more like an attempt to attract people who like to read graphic novels than a stab at really creating a solid one. That being said there are some effective scenes, primarily the stuff with the nerdy little girl, and the frog dude is somewhat entertaining at times. It just didn't ring true for the most part. Either that or I've had my fill of simply drawn accounts of sad family lives. You're gonna look at this book and really want to read it, so you may as well do it, but it's only okay. ...more
Accepting that people are never going to stop paying strangers to prepare for them (and thus transform them into) fried fatballs, this book takes theAccepting that people are never going to stop paying strangers to prepare for them (and thus transform them into) fried fatballs, this book takes the "if you're gonna skate on thin ice, at least wear a life jacket" approach, suggesting less-popular but mostly harmless entrees in lieu of more frequently purchased but potentially heart-stopping menu mainstays. Many franchises are scrutinized, as well as supermarket items and traditional holiday meals. It's all very easy on the eyes and full of intriguing tidbits about the lard-sopped sludge we squooze down our esophagi and grunt through our tattered, mayo-slickened tubes every day.
Not sure how well the Eat Slightly Less Disgusting Fast Food Diet is going to pan out for me, but in any event I'm certain it'll beat the Eat Healthy and Exercise Daily Diet.
You couldn't ask for a better comic duo than Will and Abe. When the overly dramatic, death-obsessed spinner of improvised monster stories is the straiYou couldn't ask for a better comic duo than Will and Abe. When the overly dramatic, death-obsessed spinner of improvised monster stories is the straight man, you know your comedy team is something special, and imagine Matt Groening's pride at having played an integral role in bringing this comedy team into the world, and imagine his relief at the discovery that all he had to do from now on was eavesdrop on his kids fighting in the next room in order to produce hilarious, effort-free comic strips.
It's unfair to label Will the straight man, as his penchant for creating hilariously unwieldy titles for horror films provides some of the book's biggest belly laughs, but unfairness is what being the older sibling is all about. Take it from one who knows. The eldest was here first, and by rights ought to be able to claim dibs and superior knowledge in every aspect of life, while the youngest is just happy to be invited to the party. The youngest's refusal to heed, properly appreciate, or even attempt to comprehend the magnitude or value of the eldest's position or wishes ignites within the eldest intense feelings of confusion, depression, and rage. A child cannot be expected to deal properly with even one of those powerful emotions, let alone an unexpected and immediate Molotov cocktail of all three. The result is an uncontrollable and unattractive outburst, or temper tantrum, emanating loudly and often from the eldest, a phenemenon that is, unfortunately, hugely entertaining for the youngest, who hasn't a care in the world, barring a desire to repeatedly experience things that are loud and make them laugh. You now have the makings of one of the most vital, enduring, bizarre, recognizable, and (in hindsight) hilarious relationships the human race has to offer, and Groening's simple but ever-expressive childlike doodles have rarely if ever been put to better use than in documenting the brother-to-brother dynamic of these kids he so clearly loves to pieces.
If Will is the proud bearer of his dad's boundless and overactive imagination, than little cape-wearing Abe is the lucky recipient of Pop's sly, out-of-left-field wit and whimsical disinterest in adhering to the average human mentality that has marked Groening's irreverent guides to life and made Homer Simpson a character we continue to cheer for in spite of his many unseemly qualities. A toddler throughout most of the book, Abe's lack of vocabulary prevents him from adding much to the conversation, but when he does talk, it's either cute, insane, or hilarious, and generally all three at once. If and when his piped-up comments are at all related to the topic at hand, they rarely direct the discussion down a road that Will had intended to explore, and Abe's refusal to play by the rules never fails to infuriate his brother, who can't see how improvising an exuberant song about kicking people in the penis could possibly enhance a conversation about the perils of going to the mall at Christmastime.
My favorite strips, however, contain the moments when Will cracks up at Abe's antics in spite of himself, when he drops, or loses his death-grip on, the inherited burden of older-brother entitlement and sense of propriety, and finds himself naturally reacting to this ridiculous and maybe even brilliant creature flopping around like a madman for the benefit of him alone and for the approval of no one, for the sheer joy of acting out. There are beautiful panels of Will and Abe simply laughing at their own obnoxiousness, little boys with goofy smiles surrounded by "ha"s, suitable for framing. Sure I screamed at my own little brother for ruining the watertight plots of every one of my meticulously thought-out G.I. Joe battles, but later that night at the dinner table when he responded to one of our dad's angry scoldings by turning to our mother and innocently inquiring, "Mom, why is Dad so cross?", no amount of parental disapproval could have contained my giggles of appreciation.
For me, the moment that best captures what this perfectly viable Guide to the Universe is all about comes when the brothers are discussing Abe's omnipresent cape, with which he periodically assumes the identities of Batman or Dracula, depending on where the day has taken him. After somewhat testily asking Abe why he wears a cape all the time, Abe offers a simple response (something like "I like it" or "I'm Batman", I forget exactly), and rather than mocking him further, Will matter-of-factly replies "A cape looks good on you, Abe". It's a throwaway moment that retains a quiet power, a nice compliment for Abe but a statement that belies an essential, lovely, and impressively early epiphany for Will, whether he realized it at the time or not.
Apart from being the funniest 45 minutes you'll spend with a book this year, "Will and Abe's Guide to Universe" is the most accurate and loving portrayal of early brotherhood you'll ever read. Those who were forced to contend with younger siblings of either sex in childhood may find more food for thought than others, but I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy spending time with these hilarious kids.
I love Warren Zevon. I think he's just the best. Even when he was alive, his voice sounded kind of like how a ghost might sing - all wiggly and sad anI love Warren Zevon. I think he's just the best. Even when he was alive, his voice sounded kind of like how a ghost might sing - all wiggly and sad and weird and funny. Though he undoubtedly would have been fun to have a drink or two with, I feel bad for the people who had to spend any significant amount of time with him, since, as this biography, not to mention his own lyrics, will often attest, the guy behaved like a drunken asshole most of the time. I simply do not care. He never did anything to me, other than provide me with practically half my favorite songs. He could have drop-kicked his newborn infant off a cliff (in a perhaps rare moment of forethought, he did not do this) and I'd still be into him, and that's if the only thing he ever wrote was "Carmelita".
The book does a good job stressing that Zevon was well worth knowing when he was at his best, but doesn't shy away, at all, from his less-dignified moments, of which there are apparently many to select from. I'm typically not too fast a reader, but I blew through 450 pages in about an hour and a half. It's one of them deals where a bunch of people who knew him take turns relating various incidents and takes on things, like that SNL book awhile back. It's an approach that seems to mesh well with tales of celebrity indiscretion.
I would recommend this more for people who already knew they liked Warren Zevon. Otherwise, the albums "Excitable Boy" and "Life'll Kill Ya" are probably better intros. If you were to read this book knowing nothing of him, you might come away thinking he's just a weird dick, as opposed to a weird dick who made beautiful songs. ...more