I read a lot of comic books as a kid. This series of posts is about the comics I read, and, occasionally, the comics that I should have read.
Over the years of my comic book reading, I have been notoriously slow, by my own reckoning, to find my way to titles that fall outside the heavy-duty branding offered by the big two publishers of superhero fare. That delayed adoption is especially true for those publications that land on the overlapping part of the Venn diagram where one circle is indie comics and the other is humor comics. And yet somehow, some way, I found Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle somewhat early on.
Published by Fantagraphics, issues of Tales Designed to Thrizzle didn’t arrive at a prolific pace, but they were packed as densely as any comics I every read. Kupperman is a tight cartoonist and a shrewd absurdist. He traffics in giddy illogic that resolutely stems from certainty about the weird ways the world works. The gags are so delightfully strange that they start to make perfect sense, as if they’re mapping a reality that is out there, shimmering in parallel with ours, simply waiting to be discovered by anyway who squints their eyes the right way and opens their mind.
That’s a lot of high-falutin’ word slinging to elide the simpler, more satisfying description of Tales Designed to Thrizzle as very, very funny. And being funny is the only evident rule for what gets included in the pages of the distinctly periodic periodical. There are recurring bits and characters, and Kupperman has some clear fascination for certain comedic angles (bygone scientists, old-timey affectations, the weird comics of other eras). The bumper car he steers can go zinging in any direction, through, any tracks or guidelines mere nuisances that can snapped away to better swoop toward the best laugh.
Tales Designed to Thrizzle is joy on a page. I can use more comics like this. I’m glad I found it.
Previous entries in this series (and there are a LOT of them) can be found by clicking on the “My Misspent Youth” tag.