Let’s get one thing crystal clear about Those Dark New Hampshire Woods… It’s weird. It’s my kind of weird, but it’s weird none the less. This is a fifty-fifty book meaning it’s a coin toss on whether someone else will like it. Personally, I found it to be funny and entertaining aside from being weird. The story is broken down into different chapters. Each chapter follows a different character and each character is… unique. The first character we meet is Scumbag. He’s a scumbag… there are other scumbags and this play on words continues throughout the book with the different characters. Scumbag walks us through his life. He breaks the fourth wall and just talks to us about being born four months ago and being raised by some Uncles. Uncles are another character in the book and probably one of the funniest aspects of the story. Scumbag is producing more scumbags… like they’re just popping out of his body daily like some kind of gross mutant chicken that isn’t laying eggs the normal gross way a chicken lays eggs. Scumbags problem is that he keeps killing or neglecting the little scumbags.
We meet other characters like the Littlest Pervert, a Trouble Teen and one of my favorites the Drifter. All of their stories seem separate with only the connection of the Uncles and the New Hampshire woods, but towards the end of the book you begin to see how they’re all connected… that’s when the story gets really dark and weird.
The writing is actually pretty damn good. It’s simple and straightforward with its approach. Sometimes the character narrates, other times there’s a 3rd person narration. Both are very strong and writer/artist/creator Desmond Reed switches back and forth to keep it from all feeling the same. The last thing you want in a weird graphic novel if for it to feel like the first page has been stretched to the last page and thankfully that’s not the case here. The stories are strange and I liked how basically everyone in the book was a type of person that could A-sexually reproduce more people exactly like themselves.
Which brings me to the art. It’s fantastically detailed and due to how weird and gross the story is, it’s overly detailed which is a perfect fit for it. It’s also all in black and white. I honestly can’t imagine Reed’s art style on this story working in color. It would lose the effect the art has on the story. The style reminded me of MAD Magazine in the 80s and 90s, which is the biggest compliment I can give it since I loved MAD during that time. Which since I tweeted it I will say that my mom gave me my first copy of MAD Magazine so if anything I owe this book a thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Personally I really enjoyed this book. There’s no deep message to the story and as I’ve said over and over it’s a strange book from beginning to end. But it was such a breath of fresh air to read, which is a coincidence since the books makes several notes about the smells of the characters. If you like weird stories and books easily labeled as “Alternative Comics” then this is something for you to check out. If you’re still all about the capes and the glam, then you’re probably not ready for this book.
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Those Dark New Hampshire Woods Creator: Desmond Reed Self-Published Price: $12.00 Format: OGN; Print Website