By Dustin Cabeal
The first volume of Those Dark New Hampshire Woods was weird, gross, and overall had a presence unlike anything else in comics. Reading it felt like the first time I picked up a MAD Magazine and found its contents to be unlike anything I had experienced before. The second volume of Those Dark New Hampshire Woods is more of the same.
That’s not an insult either; that’s a compliment. That means it’s still weird, it’s still incredibly gross, and still has an amazing presence that’s unlike anything else in comics.
As a refresher, I’ll tell you that creator Desmond Reed has taken terms familiar to our society and in a way, re-explained them. For instance, “Uncles” which you would traditionally know to be your father’s brother. In Those Dark New Hampshire Woods, it takes on a different meaning, and anyone can turn into an uncle. The gag works because Reed’s art captures a little piece of what everyone’s uncle looks like.
In the second volume, he takes the interlinked parts of the first volume and expands upon it. The origin of the evil teacher is explained, along with more details about “Scumbags.” Scumbags were a personal favorite from the first volume so having more stories involving them was a delight. There was also the enjoyable addition of “Toilet Baby.” I won’t spoil that one for you, but it’s a great gag.
What works about this world is that Reed isn’t afraid to create things like Toilet Baby or to make fun of “Townies.” That and the overall gross-out humor of the book far surpasses anything I’ve read since the first volume. Sometimes you need gross-out humor and Reed does it quite well.
The writing is quite good. Reed is very intricate with his story and makes sure that everything in the second volume lines up with the first volume. It’s also easy to read and take in all the small strange details that Reed provides.
The art is, again, consistent with the first volume, which is good because it’s the style to the world that is a key factor in the success of the story. Reed’s pen work is extremely detailed as he uses different techniques to bring the stories to life. As simple as the art looks, there’s a lot of skill going into each page.
If you don’t want to be grossed out or you’re afraid of things that are intentional weird (for all the right reasons that is), then you probably won’t like Those Dark New Hampshire Woods II. In fact, if this review talked about some weird shit, you should go curl up with the latest issue of Wolverine and call it a day. If you’re adventurous and looking for a MAD Magazine moment in the world of comics, then look no further.
You can pick this volume up at MICE on the 29th of October (2016) or Reed’s site: desmondreed.tumblr.com
Those Dark New Hampshire Woods II
Creator: Desmond Reed