A dark, bizarre comedy where teachers push boundaries into preposterous places
The Follies of Richard Wadsworth showcases Nick Maandag’s signature blend of deadpan satire and exceedingly unexpected plot twists. In “Night School,” a Modern Managerial Business Administration and Operational Leadership class goes awry when a fire alarm brings the Chief to school and he decides to stick around to teach the students a thing or two about leadership—and discipline. “The Follies of Richard Wadsworth” follows the title character, a professor of philosophy, as he begins a contract instructor position at yet another university. When Wadsworth finds himself smoking reefer at his student’s party and he discovers she works at a rub n’ tug, an off-kilter plan is hatched. And in “The Disciple,” a yarn about a co-ed Buddhist monastery, Brother Bananas, the resident gorilla, isn’t the only one having difficulty keeping his lust tucked safely under his robe.
In Maandag’s hands—hands that love to toy with morally ambiguous characters and flirt with absurdity—troubled men make poor decisions, unlikable characters gain our sympathies through their very haplessness, and laughs ensue, riotously.
After achieving cult acclaim through his self-published and micro-published comics, The Follies of Richard Wadsworth is Maandag’s debut book. His mechanical, affectless characters and economical artwork efficiently deliver cringes, heightening the awkward silence and stillness of his hilarious comics.