All the Rage: The Boondocks, Past and Present (Three Rivers Press)

boondocks-header.gifThis final collection of Aaron McGruder’s controversial comic strip The Boondocks (the basis for the much-racier hit Adult Swim cartoon series) collects the final strips from its daily run, plus banned strips with commentary from McGruder himself.

 

 

267 pgs. full color and B&W; $16.95

(W / A: Aaron McGruder)

 

When The Boondocks was being published, depending on where you were, it wasn’t always easy to follow. Occasionally, editors would pull strips because of controversial dialogue or subject matter. It’s a shame those strips were pulled because they’re the best ones in this book.

The cover to All The Rage. Click for a larger image.All the Rage collects the remaining Boondocks strips that haven’t been printed in previous anthologies and combines them with banned strips and interviews with McGruder. When they’re put between the same covers, the controversial strips stand out. McGruder’s wit is consistently sharp, but his best jokes were too hot for the funny pages.

Looking back, the banned strips aren’t all that bad. McGruder points out what was taken out or changed from the original strips. None of the images compare to the status quo of network prime time shows like CSI. The jokes also seem tame, especially compared to talk radio, The Daily Show, or anything Bill Maher does.

A week of controversial strips follows Huey and Ceasar as they try to find a boyfriend for Condoleeza Rice. If the same jokes and storyline were on Family Guy, it would look like the show had gone soft (and gotten much, much smarter). Next to Marmaduke, though, those jokes won’t fly.

So, while strips are very enjoyable, and while the interviews offer a great insight to McGruder’s side of the controversy, All the Rage stands out as a testament to how comedically weak newspaper comics sections are. Even the most sterile and adorable Boondocks strip was considered edgy, but outside of the newspaper they don’t seem so bad.

After reading hundreds of Boondocks strips in a relatively short period of time, I felt no rage. I didn’t want to be violent, riot or fight the government. Really, all I wanted to do was research some facts and take in some truly edgy comedy.

I’ve heard people lament The Boondocks‘ absence from newspapers. And while it does tip the balance in Mallard Fillmore‘s favor, it makes sense. If McGruder had trouble getting these strips published, it’s no wonder he moved on to work with Adult Swim. | Gabe Bullard

One of McGruder's more controversial Boondocks strips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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