Random Review Time!

There are huge numbers of comics which go unheralded and underappreciated. Even for the three of us at iFanboy, who are doing a show, or writing about comics almost every day, there are still more than we’ll ever have a chance to get to. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re not worthy of attention. It perhaps comes as no surprise that folks will often send us their work in the hope that we’ll review it. Invariably, that stuff gets piled up in the other piles of books that I never seem to find the time to read.

But, people put effort, time and love into these works, and so let me introduce you to Deep Fried, You’ll Have That and The True Confessions of a Fanboy.
At this past year’s San Diego Comic-Con, I mentioned picking up an issue of You’ll Have That, which is normally a webcomic from Viper Comics. They sent me a sampler of their books, including a one shot issue of strips from this series, and for the most part, I like this strip. It’s a daily strip by Wes Molebash, about the main character Andy’s life as a geek, and his wife and friends. There are lots of pop culture and gadget jokes. It’s not nearly as esoteric as a strip like Penny Arcade. There’s something very simple and sweet about this strip, and while it does at times border on sappy, it can be refreshing because there’s very little of the self-reflexive negative vitriol you see in a lot of strips.

There is a very light vibe of Christian-based morality lurking in the background, but I certainly wouldn’t classify it as preachy or overbearing. I think the saving grace of this strip is that it’s incredibly pure, and in no way edgy. Because there is such a thing as too much edgy. What you have here is a strip that’s not exceedingly funny, but entirely sincere and heartfelt, which is very rare.

Further, I’m sure if you’re here, you’ll find something to relate to in this guy’s geeky life, whether it’s comics, Star Wars, or video games. At the very least, you can read it for free on the web. If you like that, maybe you’ll want to go ahead and pick up one of the collections. Also, it’s important to remember that cartoonists like Molebash often get better as they go on. It’s really interesting to see the progression of craft in webstrips like this, and it’s always fun to watch artistic progression. It’s short, easy, and fun, so there’s not much reason not to read it.

The next entry, True Confessions of a Fanboy, isn’t really a comic book, but I found it difficult to deny the zeal of the co-author, James Jacobs. He insisted, with giant capital letters that I would LOVE this book. It’s basically an account of what it is to live with the disease known as being a fanboy. James is of the most devout sect of fanboys, with the comics and action figures and pristine cases and packagings. His life seems to revolve around nostalgia and reverence for the minutia of his childhood. The book, which is lighthearted, and self-effacing in tone, basically recounts the many ways in which he is a fanboy. The twist is that the co-author is his brother Johnny, who is not a fanboy, and his sections show a great amount of disdain for his brother’s lifestyle, if not a grudging acceptance of who he is, which is, in its way, pretty sweet.

The problem is, I didn’t end up LOVING the book all that much. Perhaps it was part of the humor that I didn’t get, but it was very all or nothing in its approach. I think the fanboy in question was much more involved in the lifestyle than I ever was. This is, I know, ironic from a guy with 2 weekly shows about comics. But the fact is, not a single one of us at iFanboy would ever describe ourselves as socially awkward, or intimidated by women, or really all that strange. In fact, if we have any goal at iFanboy, it’s sort of that you can be into comics, and general pop culture geekery, without being an obsessed social freak. The author of this sort of presents the opposite extreme, which is an association I would like to get away from comics. But, to his credit, he has no bones about who he is, or what he likes. It is unabashed, and he’s saying, “here I am, and I’m OK with it,” which is ultimately respectable. Further, I have to give anyone credit who goes out and writes, produces and promotes a 150 page book based on something they’re passionate about.

So while it wasn’t really written for me, I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there who will relate to, and enjoy this book. You can get a flavor for it, at their website, where a sample excerpt is posted. So no, in the end, I didn’t really LOVE it, but oddly enough, I’m probably not the real target audience.

The third entry in this humor trifecta is an indie book by Jason Yungbluth, called The Great Taste of Deep Fried. Deep Fried is a black and white, independent funny book, very much in the tradition of Milk and Cheese. Where the other two works I’ve discussed were notable for their real innocence and sweetness, Deep Fried is nothing but raw, angry, crackling energy on the page. I initially balked at this book, because it initially appeared to be “stoner humor,” which is something I get tired of very quickly. But despite my premature judgments, I frequently found myself laughing out loud. That’s always a good sign.

It’s ostensibly a humor anthology, which a few recurring characters, such as Roadkill the Cat, and a post-apocalyptic Charlie Brown, obsessed with murdering his lifelong tormentor, the evil Lucy Van Pelt. Yungbluth really impressed me with his remarkable cartooning range, working in multiple artistic styles, and cramming every page with jokes and content. It’s exhausting to read this book, but in all the right ways. The humor ranges from infantile to sophisticated social commentary (often cloaked in the aforementioned infantile humor). It is certainly not an all ages book, and there were several instances where I literally thought, “I can’t believe he wrote and/or drew that.” It did impress me that Yungbluth considered nothing sacred, and went all out at all times. And lest I’m not being clear about the content, this is black humor of the blackest sort. I’m talking child molestation jokes.

But in the end, it’s not entirely without purpose, and I think this is the artist’s way of making comments on society, and not random shock value. But it takes a rather open mind to get to that place. If you want a little more risk taking from your comics, Deep Fried is certainly fearless in terms of content, and in the end, there’s definite value in that.


  1. Thank you josh…

    I have been unproductive for the last hour reading you’ll have that..plus i bought the books, the one shot, and the poster…

    Honestly, tho, i like it and it resonates with me..

    Good pick and thanks for the introduction…

  2. I’ve been reading Deep Fried (when it comes out) since about 2001. Truly a unique book not for the faint of heart. The Weapon Brown storyline, though, is brilliant – one of those simple things you wish you had thought of. I believe it is out there somewhere as its own collection. I just wish Yungbluth would put out more.

  3. Thanks for the reviews Josh. I’m thinking of tracking down the Fried Cheese book just because I loved Milk and Cheese. So irreverant, but so much fun to read. Seems like a guilty pleasure I’m interested in reading.

  4. I dig the Wes Molebash strip, you’re spot on when you talk about how heartfelt it is. It can be a very warming read a times. I was laughing out loud when I read the strip about salsa.