My review of Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle collection is up at the Chicago Reader:
The lurch from comic-book supervillain cliche to boob-tube homage nicely encapsulates Kupperman’s methods and influences. While alt-comics creators try to cadge some credibility by putting on literary airs and their mainstream peers pray for a movie deal, Kupperman has other burgers to flip. On the one hand, he’s steeped in the conventions of comics past—barmy sales pitches (“Men! Is your penis a urine-leaking, chronically unreliable threat to your mental well-being?”), breathless pulp-adventure titles (I Bothered a Big Fish!), and doofy superheroes (e.g., Underpants-on-His-Head Man). But his essential rhythms seem to be borrowed from another medium entirely. The way he turns narratives into advertisements, ends stories with some wacko randomly barging through a window, and abruptly drops gags only to pick them up and drop them again suggests that Kupperman takes his cues from the surreality of the small screen—especially Monty Python’s Flying Circus and its animated heirs on the Cartoon Network.
If that’s just not quite enough of my prose, the Reader has also HTMLified some of my older essays (earlier available only as PDFs). There’s one about James Loewen’s Sundown Towns and one about Adam Hochschild’s Bury the Chains now available.