The Eltingville Club
By Evan Dorkin
“What are you, on fuckin’ drugs or somethin’? I’m tryin’ to talk to you here an’ you’re dickin’ around in the twilight zone!”
“I was just overwhelmed by all of the awesomeness. Just high on comics, y’know?”
“Huh. Yeah, I remember that.”
Welcome to Eltingville, a town almost entirely populated by the worst people you’ve ever met in a comic book store. If this is your first trip to Eltingville, there are a few things you should know. Evan Dorkin has been making Eltingville Club strips on and off for two decades now. At its height, Eltingville was even made into a pilot for Adult Swim, which is really quite excellent and one of the more disappointing instances of a pilot not being picked up for series. The stories focus on a group of four young men who represent the most vile, disgusting parts of comic book fandom. Those fans that look down on you for the books you read, celebrate the sexualization of female characters, and act like the world is supposed to cater to their every whim.
As you can imagine, four kids with strong personalities like that tend to butt heads. You’ll enjoy Eltingville the most if you come for the arguments and stay for the creative insults. This final chapter of the club shows us what happens when of the infamous nerds finally lands a job at the local shop. Hijinks ensue and by hijinks, I mean every skeezy business practice imaginable. Dorkin takes from his own past experiences, having been in comic book store management during the 90s, to show just how dark the underbelly of the your LCS could be. Customers are dismissed for their inferior tastes, female customers are kept at bay, and alternative comics are insulted handedly. (“Y’know what alternative comics are an alternative to? Makin’ money!”) There are some great jokes in here for the diehard comic fan. Dorkin really knows his stuff and every reference he pulls feels completely organic. I’m fighting every fiber of my being to not just post all my favorite lines, but I’m pretty sure that would be a disservice to the book.
The art and humor go hand in hand, as Dorkin proves to be incredibly talented in both regards. Dorkin uses basic, but effective ugly caricatures to give his cast a diverse look. The people of Eltingville aren’t very pretty, which makes their insults and fighting feel all the more real. There are no colors, so Dorkin relies entirely on his own inks to provide shading and detail work. The fruits of his labor are apparent on every page. Every cut and scrape has the weight needed to be believable.
I personally have never had a chance to read the older adventures of the Eltingville Club, though I have watched the pilot two or three times in my life. I wouldn’t recommend this book if you were completely unfamiliar with the characters, but if you have a passing knowledge of their purpose, you’ll do just fine. Here’s hoping that once this is finished, Dark Horse will print an Eltingville Omnibus. I’d be so down for that.