Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Books/Comics

‘Think He’s Crazy! The Comics of B.K. Taylor’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by B.K. Taylor
Foreword by Tim Allen
Backword by R.L. Stine
Published by Fantagraphics Comics

 

You’re familiar with the Mandela Effect?

Well this isn’t quite it, but it’s similar. The fact is that I read National Lampoon for roughly a decade and a half, particularly delighting in its comics parodies by the likes of Neal Adams, Frank Springer, and even Frank Frazetta. I was a big fan of the regular comics section of the mag, too, with its continuing strips by Jeff Jones, Vaughn Bode, Gahan Wilson, Ralph Reese, Sherry Flenniken, and others.

Amongst those others, it comes now to my attention, was one B.K. Taylor.

I have exactly zero memories of ever having seen or heard of B.K. Taylor or any of the National Lampoon strips found in Fantagraphics’ new collection, I Think He’s Crazy! The Comics of B.K. Taylor. To me, it’s as though they’ve been retroactively inserted into the mix via a type of continuity implant!

This disturbs me quite a bit, and not just because it messes with my head but because they’re really funny and subversive and I can’t believe I’ve missed them for literally decades!

The colorful cover grabs you right away with its literal lineup of the various characters from Taylor’s three Lampoon strips, all done up in an art style that can best be described as “Will Elder-lite.”

The Backword by prolific author R.L. Stine notes that both he and Taylor are lifelong devotees of the early, Kurtzman-era Mad. Clearly, Kurtzman and Elder had a major influence on Taylor’s art style. That said, he has just as clearly taken that influence and run with it, with even the earliest examples from the 1980s seen here being fully polished, professional, and individual.

And best of all, it’s consistently funny. Never minding the dialogue or even the concepts, the artwork alone is often enough to make you laugh.

It’s a bonus then, that the individual strips are hilariously and subversively written, too.

Leave your political correctness at the door. They’re just funny. A tad dated at times, but funny. Their positively mainstream look drives home the cutting edges of the humor much better than a lot of the more stylized, often substance-fueled underground comix to which these strips can and should be compared.

Timberland Tales is probably the most original strip present, and features the most original characters in general. It takes up the middle of this volume. The Appletons opens the book, and is probably the most relatable as everyone has at least one certifiable family member. My personal favorite, though, is Stories from Uncle Kunta, a barbed, anti-racist parody of the classic but controversial Uncle Remus character as seen in Disney’s long UN-seen Song of the South.

I Think He’s Crazy! finishes out with some amusing text-heavy Lampoon pieces illustrated by Mr. Taylor. Along with the Backword (a term that I believe also originated with the original Mad paperbacks) by Stine, there’s also an informative text piece by the author himself, a friendly Introduction by Tim Allen (Taylor, I learned was a writer for Allen’s Home Improvement, too!) and even some amusing stuff on the copyright page.

While I still contend that neither B.K. Taylor nor any of these strips existed in my original reality, the fact of the matter is they do now, and fans of beautifully-drawn, often hilarious, comics are all the better for that.

Booksteve recommends.

 

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

DISCLAIMER

Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.

SOCIAL INFLUENCER POLICY

In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like

Books/Comics

Written and Illustrated by Kyle Starks Colors by Chris Schweitzer Published by Image Comics   Writer and artist Kyle Starks really is a wonder...

Books/Comics

Written by Chris Condon Art by Jacob Phillips Published by Image Comics   In the vast realm of comic book history, few narratives captivate...

Books/Comics

Written by Dan Abnett  Art by I.N.J. Culbard Published by BOOM! Studios   BOOM! Studios’ Wild’s End, created by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard,...

Clothes/Fashion

Klayton, the multifaceted musician known for his contributions to major motion pictures, TV, and video games including Transformers, Malignant, and Killer Instinct, and Denver...