I’ve been a huge fan of Michael Kupperman‘s work when he was known as P. Revess, running “Up All Night” in The Stranger (among other weeklies, of course). His woodcut-and-clipart inspired artwork combined with his absurdist sense of humor is a perfect combination; perhaps my favorite is Snake ‘n’ Bacon, the cop team that’s a snake (who can only hiss) and a slice of bacon (who can only talk about things you can do with bacon — like use bacon in a sandwich or pat it down with a paper towel to remove excess grease).
Kupperman’s work has popped up from time to time in other places; TV Funhouse has used his work as short-short cartoons — most notably his “life of Picasso” piece, among others, and he used to have a monthly strip in The Believer. His newest work is a comic book series, Tales Designed To Thrizzle, put out by Fantagraphics. Issue 4, the most recent came out this August; unfortunately, there does not seem to be a set schedule for the issues, most likely, whenever he has enough material for an issue, one comes out. As such, though I have the complete series, every single issue has been a surprise from when I go to a comic shop and happen to see his recognizable artwork popping out from the shelf.
This is one of the best issues; while there is usually not a issue-long conceit, this issue is “designed to get your family through its entire day!”, and time references appear throughout the book, mostly in marginal asides and fake advertisements. (The stories, of course, don’t really follow any theme, but that’s what you’d expect from Kupperman.) The favorites, Snake ‘n’ Bacon and The Scaredy Kids are here, along with one-shots (the disturbing “Hell Is For Monkees”) and recurring characters (the pair-up of Mark Twain and Albert Einstein, this time as beat cops), and it all works really well.
Kupperman’s excellent draftsmanship and his ability fo the absurd makes everything he puts out a joy; I wish it were more frequent, of course, but you can’t rush genius. (And, after all, with books like Evil Eye by Richard Sala or Eightball by Dan Clowes, brilliant-but-erratically-produced comics are Fantagraphics’ bread and butter, so it’s hard to complain.)
I’ve also found out that apparently there will be a hardcover compilation of the issues coming out next June. So if you can’t make it to your local comic shop, you might want to wait…. but I wouldn’t recommend waiting. It’s too good to miss out on.