Published by: Fantagraphics
Written by: Tony Millionaire
Artist: Tony Millionaire
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Plot: A dipsomaniacal monkey and a suicidal crow sail the seven seas, wreaking havoc whilst perpetually soused.
Review: God Bless Tony Millionaire.
If there is a better artistic example of the full throttled embrace of life’s pointless absurdity I’d like to see it. The content of the book I’m reviewing can be purchased in a much prettied up and arty hardback form titled “Premillennial Maakies”, but I prefer original version, trade paper, simply called “Maakies”, the name of the alternative newspaper strip collected within. It’s flimsy, printed on extremely cheap newsprint pulp, and the shabbiness of the paper is in perfect sync with the scratchy, hung over while still drunk bombast of its nautical anti heroes.
Reeling panel by panel between gorgeous, steel point etched pre-photographic illustration and raw, minimal scrawl, Millionaire’s line art conveys the violent sliding lurch of a three-masted vessel tossed between terrible, rolling mountains and trenches on a stormy sea or the sudden roller coaster drop and ascent found only in the second wind of the most committed three day drunk.
A horridly drunken sailor monkey known as Uncle Gabby provides the narrative drive, his nonsensical ‘never say die’ in the face of failure, ruin, violent cephalopods and Napoleonic crocodiles is the wind that fills the ships sails. Ever at his side is Drinky Crow, a rusty anchor of liquor fueled lethal despair, constantly blowing his brains out at point blank range but never allowed the release of death, always there again in the next strip no explanation asked for or required.
Between them they encounter, caress and dissect every vicissitudes of life; Birth, death, love, desire, all are taken up and shaken between greasy paw and oily beak. This is the King Lear of Newspaper Comic Strips, all wild abandon and lowbrow slapstick.
Examine a single panel: Drinky crow, discharging pistol to his head, the bullet literally blowing out an eye, shouts “Goodbye, Cruel World!!” while next to him, his bastard offspring, grinning, barely feathered, fresh from the shell fires a pop gun at his own head, the cork and string rebounding harmlessly as he hollers in proud imitation, “Good Boy Cool Wound!”
‘Genius’ is a tired old whore of a word, but I happily trot her out here.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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