Comics / Back Issues

Extremely Silly Comics #1

By Geoff Hoppe
August 15, 2007 - 21:01

By: Herb Mallette, Ben Dunn, Bavaria Radio, James Hanrahan, Mike Cogliandro

Occasionally, you encounter a work of unrecognized brilliance, a story who’s true quality went unnoticed, a tale resigned to lurk amidst the dusty, unkempt corners of a book shop until--oh rapture!--the gentle hand of gossamer fate directs you to the slighted title, and voila: you discover the unjustly unnoticed volume and introduce it to a world waiting to be inspired.

Now is not one of those times.

Extremely Silly Comics is like every movie ever made by the staff of Saturday Night Live. It seems funny on the outside, but boredom lurks within. I found ESC on the bargain table at the local comics shop and couldn’t resist. It seemed so promising, so deliciously indie, so underground. The cover guaranteed a rash of humorous yarns, and while the book didn’t make me laugh, the cheap ink did make my hands swell up.

ESC #1 was made in 1986, and it shows. There are references to Aliens and a caricature of Ronald Reagan on the back cover. There are also a number of stories about giant rats, a duel between household cleaners, and a very uncomfortable prostate exam administered by the Grim Reaper. I know what you’re thinking: with ideas like these, how could they go wrong? Again, like Saturday Night Live, a funny concept doesn’t always entail funny execution.

The issue’s two best vignettes, “Machine Gun Belly” and “Mr Clean Goes Berserk,” should have been better. “Machine Gun Belly” tells the story of an overweight gangster who accidentally freezes to death in a warehouse full of Bacon flavored ice cream. Mixing hilariously outdated 1920s vocabulary with fat jokes could have been funny. Instead, the gags are uniformly tired, and the pencils fail to carry any comedic weight (no pun intended). “Mr. Clean Goes Berserk” is better, thanks to the mixture of concept (obsessive-compulsive cleaning mascot) and art. The pencils, by Bavaria Radio and Ben Dunn, are brilliantly manic, and funnier if you don’t read the accompanying dialogue.

Do I regret having purchased Extremely Silly Comics? No, dear reader, because it was a mere 25 cents. It was also an interesting trip to a different era of comics when underground, I suspect, was much more… undergroundy… than it is today. That said, the next time fate tries to drag me to the bargain table, I’m going to kick her in the pants.

Worth the money? You’re probably not going to find it anywhere, so no real point in addressing this…

Last Updated: June 23, 2021 - 00:45

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