Here’s the thing. If you can examine loss, memory and the Holocaust with anthropomorphized mice it seems reasonable that chickens can tell us something about equality and the harrowing reality of aging parents. That concession doesn’t make Elmer, a four issue Filipino comic about a troubled clan of sentient chickens any less bizarre. But you might be surprised just how cock-a-doodle-deep Gerry Alanguilan’s treatise of poultry and prejudice truly is. Even if the book doesn’t peck close to home, you’ll probably get some well-needed chuckles from protagonist Jake Gallo’s white collar job interview and its horrendous spiral. Hens and roosters have joined the rat race, but if Gallo’s screed is to be believed, humanity hash’t quite accepted their bantam brethren with open arms.

Jake's interview devolves into one hell of a cluster-cluck.

Jobless and frustrated by his celebrity brother’s increasing aloofness, Jake’s feathers are further ruffled by his father’s stroke. He returns home to regroup with his siblings and deeply distressed mother and it seriously turns into the most surreal Alexander Payne movie you’ll ever see. Is Jake’s immaculately preened brother gay? Is his sister really going to marry a human? Can Ma cope on her own? And will Jake ever find the respect he deserves from society or go off half-cocked into a southern-fried Falling Down rampage? It’s uncanny how one story can feel so wildly peculiar and simultaneously so intensely personal.

Slave Labor Graphics has done a great service collecting Alanguilan’s story, and this totally surprising, deeply provocative fable can be had in its entirety for $4.99 on Graphicly.

Have a look.



  2. YES! YES! Great book!