Bell’s protagonists can seem just as easily plagued by anxiety as they can be blessed by a divine nonchalance...Stroppy is filled to the brim with odd, off-kilter dialogue and jokes, impossibly elaborate machines and bizarre creatures that look more like layers of sediment than living beings.The Comics Journal
The first full length graphic novel from the author of Shrimpy and Paul
Enter the strange and wordplay-loving world of cartoonist and fine artist Marc Bell (Shrimpy and Paul, Hot Potatoe), where the All-Star Schnauzer Band runs things and tiny beings hold signs saying “It’s under control.”
Our hapless hero Stroppy is minding his business, working a menial job in one of Monsieur Moustache’s factories, when a muscular fellah named Sean blocks up the assembly line. Sean’s there to promote an All-Star Schnauzer Band-organized songwriting contest, which he does enthusiastically, and at the expense of Stroppy’s livelihood, home, and face. In hopes for a cash prize, Stroppy submits a work by his friend Clancy The Poet to the contest. Mishaps and hilarity ensue and Stroppy is forced to go deep into the heart of Schnauzer territory to rescue his poet friend.
Stroppy is Marc Bell’s triumphant return to comics; it’s also his first full-length graphic novella, one that thrums with jokes, hashtags, and made-up song lyrics. Densely detailed not-so-secret underground societies, little robots, and heavy weight humdingers leap off the page in full color. With Stroppy, Bell continues to explode the divide between fine art, doodling, and comics.
Praise for Stroppy
Although Marc Bell has been publishing comics for a couple of decades, longer narratives like Stroppy are welcome rarities. Bell’s imagery is strong, full of the visual echoes of an auteur like Jim Woodring...There’s an aplomb to the way he lays out his events, recalling Tony Millionaire’s (Sock Monkey) ability to push a plot forward like a game of exquisite corpse...this work is designed for the relaxed and the amused, providing an experience akin to floating on a lazy river.Paste
[Stroppy's] panels are densely packed with fantastical, misshapen hodgepodge characters who regularly bring the laughs.NOW Magazine
You can’t dip into Marc Bell’s comics. You have to immerse yourself. There’s a depth to his wild and crazy imagery that demands you pay attention, let your eye take in the rubbery detail, its strangeness and cartoony density. The result is something that owes something to the underground comix of the 1960s, the world creation of animated cartoons and Bell’s own vision of the world which might be best summed up as savage, acid-flavoured whimsy.Herald Scotland
[Stroppy is] a posthippie fantasia, filled with high-minded ideals about labour and art, but orchestrated with gleeful, low brow verve.The Globe and Mail
Stroppy is an allegory of class struggle that questions and critiques social mobility, meritocracy and economic privilege, all while telling a story that also pokes fun at taste and authorship in the music industry...The absurd plot, while fascinating, comes secondary to Bell's visual metaphors and his colourful, engaging full-page scenes, composed of jittery black lines, minute details and kinetic energy. It's a pleasure to take in, and the jokes, though subtle, are often as biting as they are clever.Exclaim!
Bell's return to comics is at once satisfying and exasperating, in a good way: certainly a reading experience like no other.AV Club