Monday, July 9


by Marc Rosenthal
HarperCollins 2007


There's an old adage that care should be taken when choosing a title that can instantly sum up someone's opinion.

Using the "nothing ever happens around here" idea we see a boy kick-the-can dejectedly through town while endless calamity takes place behind his back. At the very end something does happen that makes him change his mind. To be honest, the exercise it took to get there left me underwhelmed, to the point that I don't remember what happened and don't have the energy to go back and find out.

This kind of gag is old in the comics world, classic versions of which were presented in MAD magazine in the 1950's by artists like Harvey Kurtzman and Basil Wolverton. The unstructured layouts across the spreads in this book had me longing for the borders of a traditional comic book precisely because it was the anarchy contained within the panels that made the gags funny. Having all the action scattered around the pages diffuses the energy; you wind up seeing things happening separate from the boy, not necessarily in proximity to him. The fact that they're all connected in a Rube Goldberg-esque hodgepodge doesn't really track. Thus making it easily forgettable. Did an elephant get hit in the face with a pie? Why did the the man fall out of the window? Who's chasing whom? And why is this girl just following along and not pointing things out to the boy, since she can clearly see what he is missing?

So many questions, so little desire to follow them up.

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