Comics Will Break Your Heart: A Double-Shot Of Funny Comics

Published on October 8th, 2012

I thought going into a big list would be a little ridiculous, so without further ado, these are two hilarious, under-represented comics that I truly love, and I hope you’ll give a shot.

Bucko by Jeff Parker and Erika Moen (2011-2012, webcomic – 2012, Dark Horse Productions hardcover)

It starts like all the great American stories: with a threesome and a murder. From there, it gets hard to talk about without ruining some great jokes and taking some of the sheen from great characters.

Bucko’s a story that probably shouldn’t be as good as it is, but the finesse of the people involved elevates it. This is an impressively well-crafted story (down to the production in the print version — whoever does the design at Dark Horse these days deserves a raise). Parker knows characters, and never once are you introduced to someone cookie-cutter. If this man can make you love — LOVE! — a Juggalo, what can’t he do? The book is also drop-dead hilarious, in every aspect, but you know that already, because the list is about funny comics. It will change the way you look at jazz and candles! It will teach you the symbol for infinite rage! It will make you love a Juggalo.

Enough good can’t be said, as well, about Erika Moen’s art. One of the most important characters in this story is the city that Bucko (I call him Rich, but…), Gyp, and crew hop around. It’s a fictionalized version of Parker and Moen’s native Portland, and by the end of the story, you’ll feel either like you lived there, or that you got a tour from a very weird and very cool tour guide. Her craft on the characters is as strong and as vital to the story as Parker’s. The book gives you the feel of a true collaboration between two creators at the top of their game.

Fortune and Glory by Brian Michael Bendis (2000, Oni Press – 2010, reprinted at Marvel Icon)

Bendis had some adventures in Hollywood. This is the story of those adventures.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably read a Brian Bendis comic. You know what to expect: rapid-fire Tarantino/Mamet/Sorkin dialog, Hebrewisms, punchlines everywhere, and a little extra care for the poignant. This is pure Bendis-id comics, straight from the head and the heart. Bendis has always been open with his readership, and if you weren’t on his messageboard back then, this was a first look into his neurotic and always-entertaining brain. It’s compulsively readable: the kind of book you can pick up and read front to back more times than you’d be comfortable counting.

We also get to see a side of Bendis that’s been lost over the years: the truly brilliant cartoonist. He wore the skin of a stylistic chameleon long enough that if you read Jinx, you wouldn’t recognize the guy who drew Fortune and Glory. His design elements carried over. His tics — repeating images, fixed angles — those also carried over. It’ll give you a stronger appreciation of what he asks of artists, because he does it himself.

What you get here is a combination of Harvey Pekar observational skills (maybe it’s a Cleveland thing), Louis CK wit, and the ineffable Bendis things that Bendis brings to the table. When that sort of incision is aimed at Hollywood, you can expect good things. The book is almost always sarcastic, but never mean-spirited. It’s Bendis telling a True Hollywood Comic Book story, and by the end, you’d almost swear he likes the place himself.

Well, not really.

Adam Witt