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Sunday, June 25, 2006

 
The Comic Book Holocaust by Johnny Ryan.The Comic Book Holocaust -- Johnny Ryan is review-proof in the same manner as Rob Liefeld or Geoff Johns are review-proof. The work is what it is, it's always of about the same quality (not that all the talents just named are at the same level of craft, to be sure, just that there's an astonishing consistency to each of their oeuvres), and nothing any critic ever says is going to ever either impact the future work of the creator, or much affect the opinion of people who like what they do. (All right, Geoff Johns is the only one of the three whose work I find nothing to take pleasure in, ever).

If you've never read any Johnny Ryan comics, his Angry Youth Comics from Fantagraphics is a regularly-published series featuring all the things that make Ryan Ryan. Although Loady McGee and friends are not found in The Comic Book Holocaust (published by Buenaventura Press), you'll find many of the same themes, props and gags: snot, shit, floating vaginas, violence, sodomy, racism, huge testicles, tiny penises, regular penises, huge penises, stuff like that.

The high concept of The Comic Book Holocaust is that Ryan takes one page for each strip, and each strip eviscerates a different comic strip or comic book. Whether your sacred cows are The Avengers, The X-Men, Rebecca and Enid, Maggie and Hopey or Hi and Lois, no one is safe from The Comic Book Holocaust. The joy is found not in the juvenile shock-jock dick-and-shit jokes, but in the relentless assault on all comers, deserving and not, and in the bizarre, virtually random events the storylines of each strip eventually hinge on.

My favourite punchline in the whole book is "I'm no hero! I just like to drill glory holes in oven mitts!" If it's the only gag that made me laugh out loud, that's one more laugh than 110 Percent gave me. I did find myself smiling throughout The Comic Book Holocaust, though, because it's hard not to grin at stuff like Dr. Strange making love to an interdimensional portal, only to end up connected at the cock to a parallel version of himself -- Mark Millar should be so lucky as to be able to do that in the pages of Civil War; further, Millar has nothing on Ryan when it comes to rape.

Why is Johnny Ryan so dirty? Why is he so mean?

A better question might be, why are his comics so addictive? I know some people find his work reprehensible. The Comic Book Holocaust is a pretty good argument for the idea that there's more at work in his head that what appears on the surface; in fact, it's hard not to come away from the book thinking he is some kind of comics scholar, in his own twisted way. You can't tear this many icons a new asshole without knowing precisely what makes them tick, first. Which, for my money, puts him far ahead of the likes of Geoff Johns and Rob Liefeld.

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1 Comments:

Blogger aaron dumin said...

This has got to be my favorite of Ryan's works. His unbridled enthusiam just oozes from the pages as though the ink were made from the very bile that spews forth from his untamed mind.

25 June, 2006 10:25  

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