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By Leroy Douresseaux
May 11, 2005 - 16:03


Johnny Ryan’s weekly strip Blecky Yuckerella has appeared in the Portland Mercury and Vice, and a few other places. Fantagraphics has issued the first collection of the strip in BLECKY YUCKERELLA, a 5½” x 7,” black and white paperback that qualifies as a small treasure. Blecky is a (probably) teenage girl; she’s smelly, gross, and nasty. Though she has a heart of gold, the thing that makes her most appealing as a comic strip character is her self-deprecation. It doesn’t hurt that she also has a cast of supporting characters: best friend Wedgie, Aunt Jiggles, Rich Bucksley, etc that would give Basil Wolverton pause.

Ryan has created a character that takes it even more than she gets it, but she never comes across as a victim. She’s ying yang out of control – balance personified in a totally off-kilter way. She’s wise, but unabashedly ignorant. She’s prudish, but she can get down with Messalina. She sasses her elders, but takes a whuppin’ with the best of ‘em. Perhaps, because his star comes across as easy going or that she seems game for anything, the excesses of this strip (depictions of depraved acts, unnatural acts, criminal acts, and generous portions of bodily fluids and waste) seem tame in comparison to the same excesses as displayed in Ryan’s comic books series, Angry Youth Comix.

Ryan’s drawing is a riff off Peter Bagge without Bagge’s virtuoso draftsmanship, but Ryan uses shapes simply; it’s precision of simplicity meant to convey the outrageous farce that is Blecky Yuckerella. If ever a strip deserved wider circulation, it’s this one. Kids would love it, although many would consider Blecky too “adult” for them. Luckily, this handy little book is made to be shared… with whomever you please. A

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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