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When We Were Very Maakies
By Tony Millionaire
Published by Fantagraphics Books; $19.95.

On one level, this is merely a second hardcover collection of Millionaire's sumptiously illustrated comic strip, MAAKIES. Another handsome Chip Kidd design, Millionaire's rich draftsmanship, the usual cast of Uncle Gabby and Drinky Crow and that reptilian professor. On another level, though--and it doesn't exactly require careful analysis--this is just another segment in Millionaire's long cry for help. Because of his great artistry, it's more of an aria for help. There are few notes in his repertoire, but he makes beautifully punishing music from them. MAAKIES is soaked in alcohol and misery, and alcoholism and/or suicide are the theme of most of the gags, though Millionaire will occasionally transfer his self-loathing onto women and homosexuals as well.

Thatís not to say I didnít like it. Iím angry, I like to drink, I have my own serious personal problems, and I like making fun of people. Millionaire is a terrific cartoonist who puts tremendous effort and craft into even the most puerile gags, and that makes the strip fascinating. I donít really laugh, but somehow I derive great pleasure from Millionaireís work, and knowing heís worse off than me makes me feel better, too.

--Chris Allen



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