The Comic Queen

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Meatcake #14 Review

By Dame Darcy
Fantagraphics Books $3.95

The cover of Dame Darcy’s latest issue of Meatcake states that the book is “for weird mature readers.” I’m known to be weird. Occasionally, I am also mature. With this in mind, I picked up the book. I’ve never even seen issues 1-13 of Meatcake, so I didn’t know what to expect from the book’s interior.

The book itself isn’t one cohesive story, but is instead an anthology of sorts. There are a few short stories, some two-panel movie reviews, instructions on making dolls and various other strange bits. The book reads more like a heavily illustrated zine than a comic book.

The book has a very personal feel, like we are looking directly in on Dame Darcy’s interests. In addition to being a comic book writer and illustrator, Dame Darcy is also a doll maker. Her love of dolls and the Victorian era are evident throughout the book. Some of the book's stories feel like they might be ripped from the author’s dreams or nightmares. The personal nature of the book is one of its biggest strengths as it made me feel like I had some secret connection to the artist through the book.

It did take me awhile to get used to Darcy’s drawing style. While the cover, with its shimmery mermaids is very attractive, some panels are less so. The body proportions of some of the women seemed to be off with many having abnormally long legs. I did enjoy the macabre and dark Victorian feel that many of the stories had. The women are often rotund with luxurious hair styles and full-length costumes. The hundreds of small details throughout the book also give the reader a lot to look at.

Darcy’s strange sense of humor is another enjoyable part of the book. Many panels had me laughing and wondering exactly how Darcy even thought up a particular story or idea. She is completely creative and a true artist in her work. She uses every inch of space on the page to entertain. Although some of the book is beyond my perception of entertainment and seems “out there,” I’m glad I picked it up.

Much of the book is definitely “for weird and mature readers” just as the cover states.
It may have had more weird than I was looking for, but it is definitely an enjoyable trip. It was great to pick up a challenging yet fun read for once.

Bottom Line: B


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