Comics Are For Idiots! (Fantagraphics)

idiots-header.jpgGross-out comics king Johnny Ryan returns with another collection of Blecky Yuckarella strips.



103 pgs. B&W; $11.99 softcover

(W / A: Johnny Ryan)


Johnny Ryan is at his best when skewering some aspect of our disturbed/banal world. For instance, when his gross-out protagonist Blecky Yuckarella cuts off her friend’s ear to mount it in a book, it’s "extreme scrapbooking." Blecky slices open a computer cord to unblock the "tranny porn clog." In "Star Wars Dozens," a geek dressed up as C3PO insults another with "your mother’s cunt looks like two Ewoks fighting over a Mynock." Oh, yes he did.

Ryan’s gross-out stuff, as usual, is hit or miss. Blecky’s friend Wedgie wonders where that enchanting twinkling sound is coming from—it turns out Blecky has hung wind chimes in front of her asshole.

The cover to Comics Are For Idiots! by Johnny Ryan. Click for a larger image.Personally, that’s the sort of immature Johnny Ryan joke I adore as much as the satirical barbs. That’s because it’s more than juvenile, and not as mindless as it might seem to the unfamiliar. It’s part and parcel of an oeuvre of gross-out and fuck-you humor that, in its way, offers up his disgust for our disgusting world. Ryan’s loathing of the precious, the celebrity-obsessed, the hypocritical, and so on bleeds thru the best of these sorts of cartoons. Another example is Blecky’s "list of all the stuff I want to fuck before I die": "The Fuckit List." When he goes over the line, as when Blecky wants to join a band and play her favorite instrument, "the rape whistle," it might be too much for some, but Ryan’s yen for out-offending every book he’s done before is really just more righteous anger dressed up as sick comedy. And if you laugh, as Richard Pryor or Sarah Silverman might explain, it doesn’t matter how offensive it is. Laughter conquers all.

There’s a meta-aspect to this, too, brought out by the title, Comics Are For Idiots. Ryan seems to want to see how sick he can get before someone unfamiliar with Blecky who picks this up at the comics store has to put it down and walk away in mild shock. Reading an entire Johnny Ryan book is an indictment of the reader—what kind of sick fuck are you, anyway? The author gets a kick out of implicating the reader in all the ugliness. The artist who draws a bushel of severed penises dumped atop a dead homosexual ("Rest in Penis") is every bit as wrong as the voyeur who buys this book. Ryan exults in our mutual fucked-upped-ness. He may wallow in glory holes, "blumpkins," "gunts" (that’s fat between the gut and the cunt), rape, Hitler, boogers, poop-play, merkins, and abortion jokes, but he didn’t invent them. (Riding a single Jolly Green Giant sperm like a horse, he invented.)

His four-panel Blecky strips are just a taste of what you get with his longer Loady McGee and Boobs Pooter stories from Angry Youth Comix. Check those out for more fully realized satire. Like the airplanes made from dead Klansmen. I love those. | Byron Kerman

Click here for more information, courtesy of Fantagraphics.

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