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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tony Consiglio's 110 Percent.110 Percent -- I've loved a lot of Tony Consiglio's previous work, but I found nothing to like in his newest work. As graphic novel misfires go, they don't get much bigger than this.

The story is about a distasteful group of middle-aged hags trying to hold onto their youth and vitality through their devotion to a boy-band plainly based on N-Synch, or any of the other generic groups created by some marketing genius and composed of talentless pretty-boys. Said hags lie, scheme, steal and neglect their families and friends in order to pursue their dream of seeing their favourite band, or getting their new CD early, or whatever it is they can do to prove they are the band's biggest fans.

Along the way we're treated to the poor fat woman whose officemates think it's hilarious to stick their dicks in her face while she's bent over, then remorsefully ask her to bake a cake for them, which she brings to a party that otherwise ignores her presence. But before you feel too much pity, she's shoplifting and scheming behind her friend's back. Another of these harridans virtually ruins her young daughter's life by her blind insistence that the daughter loves the band as much as she does; at one point the daughter has something very important to tell her mother, but talk of the band drowns her out. Maybe she's pregnant, or dying. Or something. We never find out, and really the daughter and her put-upon father are the only sympathetic characters in the book, but that suggests a level of nuance and complexity that does not exist here.

This is a one-dimensional story about meaningless ciphers, with some gratuituous doggy-style sex scenes thrown in for laffs. I didn't laugh, except at myself when I realize immediately after finishing the book that I actually said out loud "Well, that fucking sucked." I honestly can't remember the last time a work rang so untrue, and took such great pains to do so.

Tony Consiglio has long been clearly influenced as a cartoonist by Box Office Poison's Alex Robinson, and he even cutely name-checks the fake band from Robinson's far-superior graphic novel Tricked at one point in the story. I'm guessing Consiglio, who apparently wasted took years to create this new work, was somehow inspired by Tricked. Instead, 110 Percent feels like a bizarre inversion, unlikeable, dull and directionless. 110 Percent has precisely nothing of value to say, and takes wastes entirely too much of the reader's time, money, patience and goodwill in its attempt to say it.

I've waited years for Consiglio to turn out a new graphic novel, and this one arrives with an audible thud, an unwelcome wrong turn in what had seemed a pretty promising cartooning career. It's unworthy of his previous work, unworthy of its publisher, and unworthy of your attention.

Available at one-quarter of the cover price is Consiglio's much better Doublecross collection, which remains highly recommended.



Blogger Nik said...

Too bad... I saw the solicitation for this one and thpught it sounded awful, but as a fan of Tony's other work hoped it might work.

24 June, 2006 21:31  

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