My Top 50 Comics of the Year by Rob Clough, HIGH-LOW

7. PETEY & PUSSY, by John Kerschbaum (Fantagraphics). This was the funniest book of the year, with the lead story containing an amazingly dense layer of jokes, gags and long-form payoffs. Kerschbaum manages on the one hand to use gross-out humor to maximum effect, but there's always a fiendish intelligence behind these jokes that give them an even greater impact.

Read the rest of Rob's list at his blog, HIGH-LOW.

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin
   I’ve read some crazy comix, and while he won’t scare you under the sheets like S. Clay Wilson, [John] Kerschbaum can be as raw as R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, and [Johnny] Ryan, who may be his closest comix cousins... No fan of adult funny animal comics (like Fritz the Cat) will want to miss Petey & Pussy... Petey & Pussy is some funny shit.

Read the entire review here.

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Andrew Leland, The Rumpus
   This graphic novel by John Kerschbaum is horrible. Each awful gag slides easily into the next in this hysterical and well-told narrative. The strip is brilliantly drawn with a modest and almost affectionate grace. Johnny Ryan is the only other living cartoonist whose books make me want to simultaneously vomit and bring everyone over to admire what’s making me vomit.

Read the rest of the review and more of Andrew Leland’s Christmas Links here.

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
   Another one of those books that makes me laugh out loud and then feel guilty about it; this is probably offensive to many people, disgusting to more, but uncomfortably funny for nearly all of us. The stories are drawn in a tight, clean style, and are full of things I don't want to describe on the open Internet. I laughed a lot; I'll admit that.

Read the entire review here.

Petey & Pussy: My Best of 2008
Reviewed by Ben Towle: Cartoonist, Educator, Hobo
    What more can I say? This book’s #%&*in’ hilarious. Oh, I guess this: it’s also beautifully drawn. For the love of god, someone please put that poor bird out of his misery!

Read Ben's entire Best of 2008 list here.

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Mark Campos for Poopsheet Foundation
   You who remember John Kerschbaum's stellar work from "The Wiggly Reader" know that his comedic ideas come from deep left field, all the way back to the fence.
   John is a ninja of comedy timing. He deploys rapid cuts and meticulous attention to detail; his nine-panel grid pages are perfectly paced to wring the most humor out of what's going on -- he's never afraid to spend an extra panel, or six, to extend a sequence as long as he can stretch it, springing the payoff with a loud and satisfying snap.
   It gets ugly, so this is not for the tender sensibilities; but it's not all bowel trouble - -the secondhand glee on the face of Petey as his friend gets his glasses back is a finely described moment, makes you happy to read comics.

You can read the entire review at Poopsheet Foundation.

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Richard Gehr, The Village Voice
   As Petey & Pussy demonstrates page by cringe-inducing page, Kerschbaum has a slapstick star's genius for both comic-strip pacing and comedy timing. He gradually ups the ante of his jokes in small details and profane asides, and then knocks you off your chair with a punch line that rocks both the animal and human kingdoms.

Read the entire review in Richard Gehr's Pulp Fictions column.

CR Sunday Interview: John Kerschbaum
Interview by Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

From Tom's intro:
   I don't know what the hell to make of John Kerschbaum. The Brooklyn-based illustrator is as talented as any cartoonist working -- he's one of those guys that seems to be able to draw anything with authority and flair -- and I think I've enjoyed every single one of his comics I've read going back to 1990s Xeric-winning The Wiggly Reader. At the same time, he's not exactly a household name...

Read the
entire interview at The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon's web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary.

Under the Surface: Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Rob Clough, sequart.com
   I've extolled the virtues of John Kerschbaum's work from time to time in this column as one of the most underrated humorists working today. His work has never caught on widely in the comics world (though many children have seen his work in Nickelodeon Magazine, among other sources) for reasons that have never been entirely clear. Part of it may be that his character design is intentionally bland. They have a pleasant cartoonishness that belies the weirdness lurking in his strips. Another reason may be the way he suddenly injects violent and visceral scenes drawn in that same cozy style. Kerschbaum also jars his readers with punchlines that are not immediately obvious unless one follows the visual clues in his comics very closely. Kerschbaum is a gag mechanic of the first order, a total master of panel and page composition. Above all else, Kerschbaum trades in deception, luring the reader in with one expectation and then brutally subverting that expectation repeatedly.

Read the entire review at sequart.com

Dr. K Reviews: Petey & Pussy!
   John Kerschbaum's Petey & Pussy, recently published by Fantagraphics, is just vile and wrong, and it had me laughing so hard at times that tears were streaming down my face.

Read the entire review at Dr. K's 100-Page Super Spectacular

Readers are advised to avoid eating while reading or risk choking during the inevitable and frequent guffaws. - Carl Hays, Booklist

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Andy Shaw, Grovel
   John Kerschbaum’s anthropomorphic fantasy world is different to anything you’re likely to have seen before. A must-read for those that like their humour well and truly in the gutter, masterfully executed by Kerschbaum.

Read the entire review here!

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Lee, Comics And...Other Imaginary Tales
   There are two things that make this a great book: (1) the art and (2) the dialogue. For starters, Kerschbaum is a heck of an artist. The art, for all its simplicity, effectively conveys the crude aspects of the humor. The characters are fairly simple sketches but he imbues them with an incredible amount of energy and emotion.
   If you’re busy, let me summarize... IT’S obscenely GOOD FUN!
Read the entire review here!

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
   Finally generally available in England is this latest compilation from Xeric-Award winning cartoonist (for The Wiggly Reader) John Kerschbaum who regularly dispatches the strangest and most engrossing cartoon treats...
   Petey & Pussy is surreal, rude, crass, crude with studied obnoxiousness, and bitterly, bitingly funny in a perfect post-modern manner.
   Blending gross-out comedy, wry observation and sheer manic invention Kerschbaum takes the imagined lives of ordinary urban house-pets and mixes them with the tribulations of modern society to reveal an utterly captivating world of bawdy, grown-up laughs that only the most po-faced conservative could resist.
Read Win's entire review here!

[P&P is] "...sort of a Chuck Jones retelling of The Aristocrats."
- Kevin Church, What I've Been Reading
[P&P is] ...very, very funny."- Craig Johnson, Comics Village- Page 45 Presents...

Petey & Pussy: Cartoon Animals Gone Wild
Interview with John Kerschbaum by Van Jensen, Comic Book Resources
   John Kerschbaum is known mostly as an illustrator, his cartoony work appearing in Nickelodeon, Green Magazine, Newsday and the Wall Street Journal. Then there's "Petey & Pussy," Kerschbaum's graphic and obscene comic book about an unsavory cat and dog who happen to have the heads of balding middle-aged men.
   A new "Petey & Pussy" collection from Fantagraphics takes readers along as the disgusting duo chase mice, drink heavily, joke about sex, eat poop and generally act like miscreants. Kerschbaum spoke to CBR News about the comics, how the collection came about, and how "Petey & Pussy" serves as an outlet from his more staid work.

Read the entire interview at Comic Book Resources

[Readers] "...will find much to enjoy in these darkly humorous tales."
- Kevin Melrose, Can’t Wait for Wednesday

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Avril Brown, Comics Waiting Room
   When reviewing a book like PETEY & PUSSY, it is difficult to know where to begin. If Looney Toons characters decided to star in a fetish porn film, it would start to resemble the twisted ride Kerschbaum has decided to take us on with this grotesque and hilarious graphic novel.

Read the entire review at Comics Waiting Room

"...it's like reading a Tom & Jerry cartoon starring Larry David and Jeff Garlin."
"Violent, youth-scarring and hilarious. - "Lydia,"  at The Rack

Petey & Pussy: The Leechin’ of Super-Pets
A review by Don MacPherson, Eye on Comics
   Petey & Pussy is weird. Like most comics readers, I learned to know and love the medium through the super-hero genre, so material such as John Kerschbaum’s cartooning is the sort of thing I found alien, confusing and even off-putting in the past. In recent years, though, my curiosity about such storytelling, found more on the periphery of the industry, has grown. Petey & Pussy is often harsh. It’s extreme and arguably non-sensical at times. But you know what? It’s entertaining. And not only that, behind all the cartoon animals, gross-out humor and cursing, there’s some honesty. Kerschbaum explores people at their best and their worst.

Read the entire review at Eye on Comics

[P&P is] "...going to be very hard to find in UK shops, but it's absolutely worth the effort." - Chris Rice, Tell Ellis Of Your New Comics
In looking at [John Kerschbaum's] latest release from Fantagraphics, Petey & Pussy, I find myself bewildered and horrified at his style of comedy." - Tim O'Shea, Robot 6 "What Are You Reading?

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Steve Bunche, The Vault of Buncheness
   Operating in the same funny/disturbing vein as stuff like DUCKMAN, this is one enjoyably fucked-up read. Although its protagonists are an anthropomorphic dog and cat with foul mouths and balding human heads, this graphic novel somehow offers a more realistic look at New York City residents than more populist offerings like that FRIENDS bullshit.

Read the entire review at The Vault of Buncheness

Petey & Pussy
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly
   Although its protagonists are an anthropomorphic dog and cat with foul mouths and balding human heads, this graphic novel by magazine illustrator Kerschbaum somehow offers a rather realistic and very funny look at New York City residents.
   Filled with content that would send Walt Disney and other purveyors of funny animal cutesiness into a state of apoplexy, think of this as what your pets would be getting up to if they could talk and enjoyed hanging out in dive bars.

Read the entire review here. (You need to scroll down a bit!)

"[Kerschbaum's] comics are the kind of funny that makes me uncomfortable."
"His work is as potent as any humor cartoonist's since Will Elder."
- Tom Spurgeon (on P&P release), The Comics Reporter

The Wiggly Reader #1 and #2
Reviewed by Tom Hart, Indy magazine
   Whenever a comic proposes itself as funny, you can bet that at best, it'll be "funny" and you can move on. But The Wiggly Reader knocked me on my ass.
    These stories are some of the smartest, funniest things I've read in a long time. A delight to have read a few of them two or three times before I really caught the joke. The first issue's centerpiece is "City Guy/Country Guy", where each of the aforementioned go to visit the other at the other's home -- thus finding each other absent. What each one encounters, how he meets his sudden violent death and the ensuing clean-up and cover-up of each is told in a steady pace of one alternating panel each and is a completely unique, twisted, bone-headed farce.
    A man walks into a bar holding a very large pointed rod and asks the bartender with an eye patch if he wants to hear the "eye-ball-shish-ka-bob" joke. We see a "NO JOKES" sign on the wall in the back. This story is funny enough when we make the connection between the furious bartender's missing eye, and his having already heard this joke from this fellow before. We could have stopped when the barkeep blows the fellow's brains out, but Kerschbaum is too clever for that. The blind guy at the end of the bar reminds the tender that way back when the tender in turn had to tell him, in fact TWICE because he didn't get it. The jovialness of the two as they are reminded that it is in fact a "pretty funny joke" results in a humor that your ordinary "funny" comic wouldn't have been able to discover.
   Issue 1 rounds out with four other stories, none of which will offer up their secrets right away. They will keep you amused and interested, and then flatten you on your ass with the information you've been missing.
   Kerschbaum's main story in Issue #2 is a vertiginous farce featuring a possibly amnesia-ridden wife, possible infidelity, loaded banana ray-guns, aiming swat teams and fellatio jokes. It's very funny and rewards the diligent reader, which is kind of a theme with The Wiggly Reader: it rewards the diligent reader. Here in Issue #2, he takes you slowly through two brilliant, silent (or near-silent) 6-page comics, one of which requires your patience and the other which at the very least requires your trust. The latter pays off with a hilarious wallop at the end, while the former (the last piece in the book) is simply terrific throughout.
   Kerschbaum's drawings look like densely-hatched mutations of Simpsons characters. His style of writing and pacing; of leading you on and then twisting your expectations like a Charleston Chew are truly singular. Find a copy and experience it. One of the funniest and most inventive comics to come I've seen.

"[The Wiggly Reader is]... wacky... disgusting... really funny!" 
     - Chris Staros,  Top Shelf
Reviewed by Tom Spurgeon for The Comics Journal # 245
    Homecoming marks another extremely attractive effort from Kerschbaum and his personal imprint Fontanelle Press. Kerschbaum is one of the better artists to emerge from alternative comics circles in the last 10 years. His work is incredibly clean without sacrificing dynamism, and he can pull a wide range of effects out of the quality of his art in addition to the story he tells. Kerschbaum likes to use his classic funny-comic line to extremely uncomfortable effect; in the world he depicts, there is something poisonous, painful and grotesque lurking around every corner.
     One hopes John Kerschbaum's enjoyable self-publishing efforts and attractive minicomics like this one don't keep an enterprising publisher or two from disseminating his work to a wider audience. He may not need it, but readers do.

Read the entire review here. (Part of Minimalism Archives #2 -- Round-Up)
One Way or Another
Reviewed by Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
    In my perfect world, admittedly one that suits my need at the expense of individual artists, DC Comics would stop trying to find Peter Bagge a solo showcase, give him editorship of Mad Magazine and John Kerschbaum would become one of his star cartoonists. One Way or Another keeps Kerschbaum's streak of supremely entertaining and high-quality minis going.

   In these days of weak-ass anthologies and people being given a solo showcase who barely have enough quality material to fill double digits in pages, one wonders that Kerschbaums doesn't have a do-whatever-you-want contract with some publisher. Their loss is mini-comics' gain.

Read the entire review here. (Part of Minimalism Archives #11 -- Round-Up)
The Wiggly Reader is one of the better Xeric winners of late. The cover of Issue #2, showing the assassination of Lincoln is the funniest comic cover ever.
       - Alex Robinson, Box Office Poison
Reviewed by Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
    Kerschbaum is the kind of artist from whom you should buy at least one comic -- any at all -- if this specific mini is no longer available. The story of a boy and his enormous, wooden penis, Timberdoodle is disturbing all the way through and would be my first choice.

Read the entire review here. (Part of Minimalism Archives #14 -- 25 to Buy)
Little Billy Blumpkin
Reviewed by Heath Row
    John Kerschbaum's longer form work, at least in terms of higher-page-count collections such as The Wiggly Reader and If New York City Was the World, is amazing. So it's no surprise that his shorter-form, standalone work, such as this 20-page, limited-edition, hand-bound item, is just as — if not more — impressive.

Read the entire review at Poopsheet
Junk Drawer
Reviewed by Rick Bradford
    This is an amazing collection of comics by John Kerschbaum that originally ran in anthologies, mini-comics and other publications you may not have seen. There's also a fair amount (nearly a third of the pages) of previously unpublished work, which is a real bonus. On top of that, the production on this thing is really impressive: attractively bound with cardboard covers (really, it looks better than you might imagine), endpapers, plenty of fold-outs (which means horizontally-oriented strips are printed at a good size without making the reader turn the book) and one page in full-color. Chances are there are other surprises I've missed.

Read the entire review here.
A Bunch of Comics by John Kerschbaum
The Wiggly Reader #1-3, Petey & Pussy: The Strip Collection, Petey & Pussy #1
Reviewed by Jog - The Blog
    Excellent proof that there’s plenty of room for craft in the making of down and dirty humor comics, John Kerschbaum brings a smooth, attractive energy to everything strip he draws, even when he’s presenting the adventures of a mutant man-dog with a shoelace hanging out of his asshole, or delighting in the quiet jest of bloody dental surgery. Kerschbaum can be a sick fellow, but a slick one too. It’s too bad that you may not have heard of him, but now you have.

   Humor is a tricky thing to recommend. Go through those online strips, see how you react. I love it. Far less tricky to recommend is excellent artwork, a firm grasp on craft. I think you’ll appreciate the level of visual quality in these comics. I love that too.

Read the entire review here. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)
Reviewed by Greg McElhatton  at iComics.com
   Like John Kerschbaum's full-sized The Wiggly Reader comic, Timberdoodle tries to shock, surprise, and amuse the reader with its bizarre story. Itsucceeds pretty well. Kerschbaum has a great sense of humor and a distinctly warped view on the rest of the world that comes through in his comics, and his stuff is one of the few books out there that makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis. The story moves at a brisk pace, but never too fast; rather, it's one of the ways that Kerschbaum keeps the reader unsuspecting as the next twist shows up.
   Kerschbaum's art has its own distinct cartoony style. Most characters seem to have vacant expressions on their faces (although come to think of it, that's not too far off for most of the cast of Kerschbaum's various comics), and there's always a certain similarity among the different characters, but this works great for his stories. It's like a Sunday comic strip gone horribly wrong (or right, depending on your outlook), and his innocent-looking people lull you into a false sense of security as events twist and jump hideously out of control.
   If you haven't read any of Kerschbaum's stories and like sick, evil, and falling-down-funny comics, you really owe it to yourself to read his works.

Read the entire review here.
Petey & Pussy #1 
Reviewed by Bruce Sweeny for Lollipop Magazine

   One of the funniest underground self-published items to come along in a long time is Petey & Pussy which is available directly from Fontanelle Press and it's an outrageous hoot. You might want to explore what else they have at their web site. They declare their products are "not for the faint of heart or lame of brain." Right on both counts!
   "[Petey and Pussy #1 is the] funniest, and most disgusting, comic of the year. I can't be bothered reading most comics once these days, and I read this one over again as soon as I finished it, just because I couldn't believe how great it was."
        - Kim Thompson,  FANTAGRAPHICS
  "[Petey & Pussy is] Funny as fuck, a laugh a second. Chalk up another one for sick and funny comics."
         - Kurt Wolfgang
Petey & Pussy #1
Reviewed by Sammy Harkham for Resonance

   A comic about a cat-and-dog duo with human heads, balding pates and glasses, with occasional appearances by a demented parrot. Jokes revolve around alcoholic old ladies, leg-humping and general stupidity. This is much funnier than it sounds. John Kerschbaum draws in falsely wholesome, slick MAD style, which only makes his jokes more effective. He is one of the most underrated "funny" cartoonists in the business. Buy this comic.
If New York City Was the World
Reviewed by The New York Daily News
   Our computers went down on Friday like they do a lot on Friday and while we sat and steamed, we picked up If New York City Was The World, a cartoon book by John Kerschbaum. We laughed out loud for the whole time with tears streaming down our faces. If you can make us laugh when we'd rather be out looking for a big tower and a high-powered rifle, that's pretty good.
  John Kerschbaum deserves mention because the New York based illustrator and cartoonist has arrived on the scene with an already-mature visual style. Kerschbaum's odd angles, intense cross-hatching and sometimes meticulous backgrounds are a joy to behold — he may have the most engaging style since similar graphically-accomplished debuts by Terry LaBan and Seth.
  More importantly, that art services the humor in his comic The Wiggly Reader (an initially Xeric-funded solo effort, two issues of which have seen publication at this writing). It allows for thorough, lush backgrounds in a story like "City Guy/Country Guy" and the shorts that precede it, but it can also be part of the humor. The most impressive work of Kerschbaum's I've seen so far is the cover to The Wiggly Reader #2, a trapped-on-alternate- worlds goof on the Lincoln assassination that allows for sustained and repeated viewing. It's the closet work that anyone of Kerschbaum's generation has done to the best of Wil Elder.
   The vast majority of Kerschbaum's humor is more contemporary than the gentle silliness of the MAD master. In fact, the wide range of humorous approaches is one of Kerschbaum's strengths: jokes in The Wiggly Reader #1, for example, draw on observations of human cruelty, ironic punchlines, and good old American tastelessness — explored in a variety of narrative rhythms. It's a promising beginning, and one suspects that Kerschbaum may forgo erratic, ambitious leaps for more thorough growth in one comedic realm after another. It should be a fun ride.
        - Marshall Pryor, The Comics Journal #205 Young Cartoonists Issue
The Wiggly Reader #1 and #2
Reviewed by Rick Bradford, Poopsheet
   This is amazing stuff from John Kerschbaum, a guy I can't believe I never heard of before now. Twisted funny comix and the covers are astounding. After reading these, I lucked out and came across his If New York City was The World in a used bookstore. Recommended.
   The covers [of The Wiggly Reader] alone are hysterically weird (check out the duels between all those Abraham Lincolns, Mary Todd Lincolns and John Wilkes Booths on #2), but the contents... Frequently untitled, his strips start out in the rough neighborhood of left field and quickly move way beyond. Though not above the occasional sophomoric punchline, he has more than his share of sublimely epiphanic moments -- the capper of which is the wordless mini-epic in Issue #2 about the amazing electric dancing people. Phenomenal.
        -Anodyne Magazine
Randy and the Christmas Pimple 
Reviewed by Tom Spurgeon for The Comics Journal #234

   Kerschbaum lends his facile, luridly inked art to this somewhat pedestrian tale of Christmas-time cruelty. Like some of the great Mad artists, Kerschbaum's angular style expresses horror so appealingly it's hard to take seriously the nasty worldview on display. The great joys in this mini are found in the capriciousness with which that ugliness is put on display, and the slightly disjointed narrative with which Kerschbaum allows the story to unfold.

Read the entire review here. (Part of Minimalism Archives #12 -- SPXPO Batch)
Petey & Pussy #1
Reviewed at Optical Sloth

   [Kerschbaum] is a name that I've been hearing a lot about lately.  Seems like I've seen him in an anthology or two here and there too.  His style reminds me a little of some of the old J. D. King stuff that Fantagraphics used to put out, but he definitely puts his own spin on things.  This is the tale of Petey and Pussy, a dog and a cat that inexplicably have the heads of old bald men.  They live with a senile old woman and the problems start when Petey accidentally swallows a piece of glass while drinking from a broken liquor bottle.  Whatever the noise is for this guy, it isn't loud enough. If his other books are this funny (and they're even funnier, if the blurbs on the back cover are to be believed) then he should be mentioned right up there with Johnny Ryan, Sam Henderson and Evan Dorkin.  A bold statement after reading one book and I'm assuming a lot about the quality of the other stuff here, but there you go.  I'm only going by one issue here but I liked it a lot.  Any comic that makes me laugh out loud more than a few times gets my complete support.  You can e-mail him to see what he has available or you can just ask for a free Fontanelle Press catalog.  Not sure if that's his publishing company or just the people he uses, but I'm sure they have a few of his older books available too.  Let's put it this way: if you like the sample page below, then you'll love the rest of the book.
Petey & Pussy #1
Reviewed at Flooby.com
   John Kerschbaum, writer/artist of The Wiggly Reader is back with his particular brand of surreal and hilariously sick humor. This time he's showcasing Petey (a dog) and Pussy (a cat), two cynical, hard-drinking and foul-mouthed pets. The pets in Kerschbaum’s world also have human heads, which makes them susceptible to all manner of human mannerisms and vices. Both have a penchant for booze and cigars and one notable scene has Petey glomming on to a discarded cigar that has landed in a huge pile of poop. Sounds gross but the conversation between the two about it was inspired.
   I've only read one issue of The Wiggly Reader and the Petey & Pussy strips definitely stood out so it’s no wonder they're being showcased. Kerschbaum's penchant for black comedy is in full-force with Petey & Pussy as he serves up a steady stream of sick humor. Unlike his one and two page strip approach in The Wiggly Reader, Petey & Pussy has a continuing story. This one follows Petey and Pussy as they attempt to save their favorite watering hole from closing by stealing back a valuable “Himmel” figurine from the niece of Pussy's senile owner.
   Kerschbaum's illustration style fits the dark comedy perfectly. There's always some interesting gross bit of detail to discover in each panel. The image of balding, middle-aged male heads on the body of pets is strange but it works.
   If you thought the movie Re-animator was a laugh riot, then buy this comic. The black comedy found within its pages should make you chuckle. It's certainly one of the most unique comics you'll find on the stands today.
Reviewed by Rob Clough for Savant Magazine
   John Kerschbaum's gags seem cute and innocuous until you dig a little deeper and notice with horror the real punchline of some of his strips. His comics owe little to anyone and often make the reader work for the punchline. I am delighted that he received two Ignatz nominations, because he deserves both the recognition and the publicity. Kerschbaum matches a solid level of detail in his backgrounds with more iconic characters that thrusts the focus of his strips on what they do. The background detail often dominates the reader's focus in a strip's early panels as we're trying to figure out what's going on--he always starts subtly. Oftentimes, he will quickly derail a story and go wayover the top to deliver a punchline.
    Kerschbaum will go for the gross-out, but only in the service of an actual joke--it's never gross for its own sake. More disturbing than any gross-out is the relentless (but hilarious) nihilism of his comics--he's incredibly cruel to his characters. A strip where two dancing robots are separated, abused, stripped to spare parts and then "united" in the cruelest and most banal manner possible is both heartbreaking and funny. Another long strip retells the story of the city guy and country guy, both meeting the cruelest fates imaginable--and getting abused even worse after death.
    In some ways, his minicomics are even better than his other works. His latest, HOMECOMING, was nominated for an Ignatz. It's about salmon swimming upstream to mate--except that they're anthropomorphized into 1950's high school kids. His crowning achievement, however, is TIMBERDOODLE, a mini about an ordinary young man born with an enormous wooden cock. Every single panel dances with ingenious combinations of both verbal and visual jokes, and the final payoff is classic Kerschbaum: ambiguous and over-the-top. Kerschbaum does put his minis online when they go out of print, and they're worth seeking out. Many of them are true art objects in their own right.

Read the entire review here.

Please send any questions, comments or concerns to editors@fontanellepress.com