Snake'n'Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret
By Michael Kupperman
Of all the cartoonists that I admire, Michael Kupperman is probably the strangest. He's not a great storyteller, his drawings are laboriously overworked, and he frequently lets the writing instead of the art tell his story. And yet, I enjoy his work so much that I'll buy a $20 anthology or an $8 magazine just to get a regular Kupperman fix. Why?
Because, simply put, Michael Kupperman is one of the funniest men alive.
Kupperman's work is five parts non sequitur, mixed with an equal amount of advertising clip art and discarded scraps of pop culture. It's obscure yet accessible, offbeat without being offputting1, and calculated to entertain on just about every level. It's like listening to one of Grampa Simpson's stories, only it goes on forever and might just have a point...
Snake'n'Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret is a collection of Kupperman strips from such diversion locations as the Oxford American, Heavy Metal, Nickelodeon, and the Miami New Times, mixed in with completely new material. There's no story, though there are recurring characters, thematic arcs, running gags and callbacks to earlier strips. The book is mostly just pure, concentrated weirdness. It's probably easier to just show you what it's like...
It's gloriously mad, isn't it? (Not everything in Snake'n'Bacon is in strip format, but it's easier for me to showcase single-shot gags than a multi-page story.) And infectious, too - one read and you'll have phrases like "Goddamn sex blimps!," "Have you ever tasted adventure in your own bathtub?" and "Wipe me with a paper towel to remove excess grease" running through your head forever.
Good luck finding a copy of Snake'n'Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret, though. I had to special order it, and apparently these days new orders are being filled with less-than-spectacular print-on-demand issues. But if you do see a copy, snap it up immediately. You won't regret it.
- Unlike, say, Sealab 2021 and Family Guy, which are equal parts offbeat and offputting. Once the novelty value of those shows wears off, what's left is just utterly repellent.