Receiving praise is a weird thing for me as I am instantly skeptical of it. I’m not feigning modesty or fishing for compliments, I grew up with incredibly supportive parents and relatives, and I’ve spent enough hours on the therapist’s couch to know my hang-ups. I briefly wrote about self-doubt last week and to expand upon that it’s probably one of my main motivations.
Since I’ve been floating around the corporate environment for 40 to 50 hours a week for the better part of two decades now, I’ve seen a lot of motivational posters. A LOT. A quick check of the Google machine reveals that an aphorism commonly attributed to Voltaire is, “Perfect is the enemy of good” which is great since I don’t feel like I get to write about Voltaire enough. Candide was a favourite of mine while in college and I like to bring that up when I’m pretending I don’t spend most of my free time laughing at fart videos on YouTube.
I suppose I should be wrapping up my preamble here with what amounts to a point: I always feel like I could have done better. The last time I got praised on a column, I looked it up to see what the fuss was about and spotted a sloppy typo in the opening paragraph. That took me back to college and a time when I phoned in a term paper on English Literature. When I got it back, I got a B- on it, not shameful in the least, but my professor had remarked on it, “You can do better.”
Now let’s get better together and look at some COMICS!
Mr. Butterchips – A Collection of Cantankerous Commentary
Alex Schumacher (W/A)
Mr. Butterchips – A Collection of Cantankerous Commentary was easily one of the most traumatic reading experiences I’ve had in recent memory.
How’s that for a jacket quote?
Allow me to elaborate. Mr. Butterchips collects Alex Schumacher’s monthly comic strips from the Drunk Monkeys website beginning in May of 2016 all the way up to April of 2020. Spring 2016…things we’re pretty good then, right? Things didn’t start to get bad until November of that year and…oh, wait.
In the afterward of the book, Schumacher explains that Mr. Butterchips was pitched as a homage to the “underground comix of the ’60s and ’70’s” but that aesthetic was short-lived due to the 2016 election. From November of 2016 forward, the comic strip took on the task of documenting how NOT OKAY the world had become and it did so with a fiery and often hilarious anger.
Back to what I said about it being “traumatic.” Recently, one of my cats was sick and experiencing intestinal distress. I lived in a world of shit and I could not recall a time before… The Shit. To borrow a joke from, I believe, Janeane Garfalo…the metaphorical shit I had been dealing with in my life had suddenly become literal shit. Things have been so crazy, for so long with the current administration that I almost cannot remember a time before that.
Butterchips is a month-by-month document of some of the worst things to happen every month from when the strip began all the way up until COVID-19. Personally, I don’t need convincing of which way to vote in the 2020 election but having an articulate cartoon monkey chronicle the last four years in excruciating detail only strengthens my resolve. Reading the book is like looking back on things that seem like they happened a million years only to be reminded that it all took place in the fever dream that the last FOUR YEARS has been.
Selfishly, I kind of wish publication of this book had been delayed until next year when things get (HOPEFULLY) better. I mean, that monkey probably has a thing or two to say about the USPS right now. That being said, Mr. Butterchips is both a funny and important chronicle of just how insane the world is right now. Maybe buy one for your asshole uncle who keeps saying that Black Lives Matter is a “Marxist movement” and that you should “do your research.” I’m sure he’d love it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends #26
Gary Carlson (W)
Frank Fosco (A)
Speaking of things that happened a million years ago…it seems like only yesterday I covered the first issue of TMNT: Urban Legends which was reprinting one of the “lost” and unfinished TMNT series of the late ’90s. The book was always something of a curiosity to me since I first stumbled across the title in a dollar bin.
Originally published by Image, the book was a continuation of the classic Mirage TMNT book that really took some chances. Donatello became a cyborg, Raphael lost an eye, Leonardo lost a hand, and Mikey became a published novelist. The run of the book was cut short and remained largely unfinished until IDW stepped up and had the previously published issued reprinted in colour and commissioned the original creative team to produce some new issues, allowing them to finish the book.
As far as endings go, this one is pretty satisfying especially since I got a chance to enjoy the book in a serialized fashion that I was unable to do previously. The good news is that IDW is publishing collected editions so that if you managed to miss it this time around there’s still a chance for you to explore one of the more peculiar corners of the TMNT universe.