The A.V. Club praises My Dirty Dumb Eyes and You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack

“New comics releases include alternate-history fantasy-horror and a colorful foodie memoir” / A.V. Club Comics Panel / Noel Murray / April 9, 2013

(...) You’re All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack (D&Q) collects some of the comic strips that Gauld has drawn for The Guardian’s book review section, which means that most of them have a literary bent, riffing on famous authors and genre conventions. Gauld imagines a Brontë sisters videogame, with Charlotte racing across the moor toward an angry, cane-wielding man; and he draws some of the characters left out of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In The Willows, such as Prawny, Madame Aubergine, and Viscount Stout. He re-conceives Charles Dickens as Batman (complete with Dickensmobile) and cites “Mary’s Undersea Adventure” and “Space Jesus” as some of the apocryphal Bible stories. The jokes in You’re All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack are quick one-pagers, dispatched in just a few panels, but they’re rooted in a love of the human side of books: the real people who write them and the fictional constructs who occupy them. That Gauld is able to get so much of that across with so little is like the most disarming, confounding magic trick. (...)

Unlike Gauld and Martin, Lisa Hanawalt mixes her one-off gags with multi-page humor stories, more in the mode of Michael Kupperman in terms of taking an approach that mixes illustrated text pieces, short strips, sketches, and sprawling sagas. Kupperman provides an approving pull-quote to the back of Hanawalt’s My Dirty Dumb Eyes (D&Q), joined by Patton Oswalt, Julie Klausner, and Kristen Schaal. Hanawalt’s comic style is all her own, though, mixing surrealism, raw sex, cute critters, pop culture, and her own first-person reportage and movie reviews. In short form, Hanawalt ponders how the creatures in Avatar poop (out of their mouths, she presumes), and shows what happens when a lover finds a woman’s “d-spot.” (She turns into a dinosaur.) In longer form, she has an animal-headed couple discussing the self-doubt of artists, and imagines celebrity chefs engaging in liquid-nitrogen fights. The subject matter in My Dirty Dumb Eyes ranges from the bizarre to the commonplace, and Hanawalt’s art can be both jaw-droppingly beautiful and purposefully hideous. She’s the opposite of Gauld and Martin in some ways, expressive where they’re minimalist. But what matters most is that she’s very, very funny, making what in other hands would be shock-comedy come off more like a friend describing a crazy dream. [NM]

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