September 19, 2015

Review: Tales Designed to Thrizzle by Michael Kupperman

Title: Tales Designed to Thrizzle

Author: Michael Kupperman

Publisher: Fantagraphics

Date of Publication: 2009

Number of Volumes: 2 (8 issues)

Number of Pages: 144 (each volume)

Find it at: Book Depository (Vol.1), Book Depository (Vol. 2)


These tales are more thrizzling than ever! What are Tales Designed to Thrizzle? Tales Designed to Thrizzle are about evil girls and their owls. They are about Jesus half-brother Pagus, the Mysterious Avenger, Dick Crazy, scary snakes, delicious bacon, Private Eye Johnny Silhouette, the Silver Knight, Murder She Didn't Write, the Mannister, the Space Patrol, portraits where the eyes move, Pablo Picasso, sex blimps (and their logical inverse, sex holes), the hot boy band Boybank, soccer joust, Underpants-On-His-Head Man, Hercules the Public Domain Superhero, Cousin Granpa, Mister Bossman, Mark Twain, the silent robot Citobor and, of course, the Thirties.


To thrizzle is to thrill and dazzle are the first words of Michael Kupperman in the introduction of the first issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle. Indeed, I cannot imagine a better word to describe these hilarious volumes of thrizzling tales. Plus, I'm going to use this word in the future. I knew so little about this graphic novel, besides the fact that it is really funny, that I didn't know what to expect.

First of all, there isn't a certain story in Tales Designed to Thrizzle. This is a collection of funny, surreal and crazy stories, as well as various advertisements for imaginary and totally unnecessary products. It's like watching a variety comedy show in comic book form. But this doesn't mean that various characters from the sketches don't return with new adventures. In fact, there are several running gags throughout the volumes. I can't even describe how funny it was when I came across something that begun several pages (and sometimes issues) before.

I cannot really say that there was a sketch or a character that I didn't particularly like, but there were some that I cared more than the rest. Some of my favourites were Snake 'n' Bacon, Twain and Einstein, Cousin Grandpa and Sherlock Holmes vs. Jungle Boy. Especially the first time we encounter Snake 'n' Bacon, they travel back in time and meet Casanova the night he was murdered. One of the greatest mysteries is still unsolved. That's one of the funniest and most memorable stories I've read. Twain and Einstein also have some great adventures especially in the second volume. As for Cousin Grandpa, you should definitely read the Ever Approaching Grandpa! I can't stop laughing! Jesus half-brother, Pagus, has the funniest running gag in the graphic novel.

But as much as I loved the sketches, I had trouble with the advertisements. I found them unnecessary. Sometimes, when they were placed at the end of the page, or on the sides, like in a newspaper, I didn't really mind them. But there were pages that were filled with them. In these circumstances, I just passed them, in order to find the next story.

The art style of Tales Designed to Thrizzle is amazing. From the first page, it caught my attention and by the end of the second volume I was completely taken with it. The truth is that there isn't one concise style. Each story has different art, there is even a story made with actual photographs of people. Some segments were black and white and others were coloured. At the end of each issue, there was a final image. These are so surreal and impressive, it's worth checking them out.

All in all, Tales Designed to Thrizzle is one of the most memorable and funny graphic novels I've ever read. Although I wouldn't say that it's perfect, I loved it and I would reread it. Actually I'm constantly describing one sketch or another taken from this book to my friends. I would recommend it to those who want something amusing to read, but you should expect that the craziest things are happening just because.

So, my advice is...

Prepare to be thrizzled! 

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