By Dustin Cabeal
What in the fuck is this?
I was about halfway through when I had to know who was writing this dribble and low and behold it was Howard Chaykin. Let me put it plainly; I do not enjoy Chaykin’s writing or art in the least bit. Both offend my senses, and I had the luck of seeing both this week. It was a tough pill to swallow to finish this fucking issue, but I felt compelled to for many reasons.
One of the many failings of this comic is that it’s over-narrated. I would say that it’s because Chaykin doesn’t trust his artist, but that would imply that they’re telling the same story and even on the same page. There is such a massive disconnect from the narration and the artwork that it feels pointless to digest both together. You’d almost be better off reading the narration first, then looking at the art and reading the dialogue. And you’re probably thinking, “But Dustin, that’s a weird way to read this book, won’t it get confusing?”
Yeah, but you probably won’t be as lost as if you tried to read both together.
This fucking world is like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but instead of toons being in cartoons, they’re just born that way… so like a dash of Cool World I guess. Ruff and Reddy are the top of the food chain, but they’ve been given inflated egos by all the people around them. Their downfall happens when some deaf kids read their lips while they’re bickering during a Thanksgiving Day parade. Apparently, that’s enough to spiral them out of control.
Very annoyingly there are scenes from their TV show, and career sprinkled in throughout the issue. It’s like that episode of Rick and Morty with the universal cable. None of the shows make any sense, and really only the creators give a fuck because they’re just taking a piss… pretty much the same thing here. None of it is fun, entertaining or worth the page space and yet there are so many fucking panels dedicated to these dumb shows. We get it, they suck apart, and they’re not very good at acting. That didn’t need to be twenty pages of this twenty-three-page comic.
The art ends up being kind of annoying. It has this movie poster feel to it, but with the cartoon element, it looks cell-shaded. The designs and coloring are good, but there’s a stiffness to it. The panels have too much detail and personal style that it hurts the panel choices and layouts. Each panel is forced to do a lot more work than needed and there comes that disconnect from the narration again. At first glance, it looks good and the style is great, but it’s not the right choice for this book. That and anytime comics try this Who Framed type of story it just doesn’t work. You need one set style for the “real people” at the very least, but if you just stopped trying to make this type of story no one would care or be sad. I didn’t look at this book and go, “Damn, they cracked the code I really get the sense of cartoons and humans living in the same world!” No instead I went, “Yup, that’s a comic book with anthropomorphic animals… which I see every week.”
I will never read another issue of this. It’s not interesting; there’s no story set up or even a reason to come back to the series. It was just a lot of exposition and attempts at being clever. It failed and was a painful book to read before I even knew who wrote it.
The Ruff and Reddy Show #1