Monday, December 30, 2013

Sparkplug Highlights: Danny Dutch, by David King

A brilliantly absurd collection of strips, David King's Danny Dutch features the eponymous Danny and his gang of friends going about their lives and pondering the various vagaries and truths of existence. Let me just prepare you right off the bat: the pictures and words don't line up. That's the beauty of it. Without the text in the perfectly placed speech bubbles, most of these strips could be in a newspaper; the characters' chubby, highly detailed bodies recall classic cartoons of yesteryear, though the occasional landscape or city scene is so finely rendered it puts the average comic strip to shame. The text, though, is all dull malaise, contemplations on life, death, and sex, soul-crushing observations of relationship politics, reflections on art and childhood--and more. Soon enough, however, through some strange alchemy, the two disparate elements (visual and verbal) begin to line up and inform each other, until suddenly you're laughing at your own mortality or feeling melancholy over your favorite childhood memory. It's a weird ride, one that will leave your stomach feeling wobbly for a while after you get off, but you'll want to hop back on again nonetheless.


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