"[Michael Kupperman] may have one of the best comedy brains on the planet right now." - Conan O'Brien
The hilarious Michael Kupperman's comic Tales Designed To Thrizzle quietly turned seven last month, an event marked bittersweetly by the release of the series' eighth and final issue. If you haven't heard of Kupperman, don't feel bad: he's one of comedy's best kept secrets. If this was a just world he'd be one of its biggest stars.
It's tough to write about comedy without making it seem, well, boring. To shamelessly paraphrase an old axiom, dissecting humor is a lot like dissecting a frog - all you end up doing is killing the thing. And while there's undoubtedly some truth to this, it'd seem a bit like cheating to boil down what makes Tales work to just "Michael Kupperman is really funny," or even "Seriously dudes, he's like capital-F funny."
Both statements are true, but there's more to it than that. When firing on all cylinders, which it often does, Kupperman's work possesses a ramshackle insanity unlike anything else out there. After all, some of his best comics have centered around such subjects as a snake and a piece of bacon who've achieved celebrity, a robot that can tell if somebody is secretly a hobo, and how the physical resemblance between Mark Twain and Albert Einstein led to the two becoming best friends and partners in adventure. A deep obsession with Twain runs through much of his work, most overtly in his book Mark Twain's Autobiography: 1910-2010 which is probably the funniest thing he's ever written.
While Tales Designed To Thrizzle #8 is very good, its quality is marred by a few uncharacteristically weak strips. As is his signature, Kupperman eschews grounding his humor in favor of piling absurdity on top of absurdity, and while this works like a charm most of the time when it doesn't the comedy feels oddly detached from, well, anything (we're looking at you, strip about a Frenchman whose scything technique changed the face of warfare). Of course, that last qualifier could just as easily be applied to his best strips. It certainly does to this issue's highlight, a lengthy piece titled "Moon 69: The True Story Of The 1969 Moon Launch" composed almost entirely of tangents. This is a series where the appearance of an astronaut detective who's also a werewolf doesn't elicit from the reader a "what!?" so much as an "of course!" And a huge laugh.
Tales Designed To Thrizzle will be missed, but it's exciting to ponder what Michael Kupperman will do next. Whatever it is, you can bet we here at The MindHut will be first in line to see it. How could we not be? The guy is like capital-F funny.
Tales Designed To Thrizzle #8 GRADE: B+
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