A review of the latest collection of cartoons featuring everyone's favorite caffeinated hero!
Credits & Solicit Info:
A new cartoon collection from the Eisner Award- winning and current New Yorker Magazine cartoonist Shannon Wheeler! Too Much Coffee Man, the long-underwear-clad hero who's been delighting fans for two decades, returns to the printed page in his first all-new adventures since having his life remade in opera form. Wheeler remains one of the best satirist of a generation, lending a hilariously cynical eye to Too Much Coffee Man's struggle to make sense of the ever-changing modern world - with a space octopus thrown in for good measure, of course.
Occasionally, a comic or series of comics comes along that has such intricate, delicate and amazing artwork that it makes us question the very depth of human potential. This is not one of those comics.
It is such a precious rarity to come upon any kind of animated story or graphic novel where the artwork is, for lack of a better word, substandard, while still simultaneously perfect within the confines of this story. The cover and every page that follows has a completely simplistic style, and it is that very style that further exacerbates the great writing within.
At the end of the day, even the best artwork is completely meaningless without excellent writing, and this story has it in spades. Being creative, intelligent and funny all at the same time while still continuing a story in a natural flow is one of the most difficult aspects of writing; anyone can be one of those things, but doing all of them simultaneously is a true accomplishment.
Each page, although carrying on a continuing story about a man who has created his own story, is completely independent in of themselves. In essence, each page is a chapter in a story, and they are each entertaining.
This comic has a strong sense of nostalgia; all of them is very reminiscent of one of my favorites, Where the Sidewalk Ends. The animation style is course and unrefined, and is yet perfect to carry the story. There is a story for the kid in all of us with "A boy and his squid." Any writer or artist can easily relate to the ever aching problems brought forth from Too Much Coffee Man. And the Adventures of Cutie Island will give us a moral that would rival Aesop. Each story is worth your time in reading.
Through the vocabulary in various settings, we see that both the writer and artist are intelligent and versatile. There is wit, however it is not restricted to just intelligent remarks aimed at the main character. There is wit is on varying levels, both high and low brow giving something for a wide array of readers. The intelligence of the writing, however, doesn't make it at all condescending or intentionally over the reader's head.
Unfortunately, there just isn't much to say about this one. The format negates discussion about character development, artistic style, dialogue et cetera. This comic should just be taken as it is; an entertaining read that will keep you satisfied for a while to come with a high level of repeated readability. This won't be topping the list of must reads for anyone anytime soon, but it could easily find its way onto anyone's bookshelves.
Three stars out of four.
Review by: Dan Kester