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'Masters of the Nefarious: Mollusk Rampage'

We’re big fans of whimsy & nonsense here at Humphrey Magazine, & while nonsense poetry has long fallen out of favor (would Lewis Carrol thrive in modern times?), the absurd lives on in comics. 

Comics are a unique medium — similar to film in their visual movement, art in their crafting, & literature in their storytelling, they present a peculiar opportunity to be outrageous while remaining connected to ancient versions of storytelling — what are Egyptian & Grecian friezes but comics in their purest form? 

Masters of the Nefarious: Mollusk Rampage by Pierre La Police, just released from New York Review Comics, plays a game of absurdist hopscotch through an expanding multiverse of silliness & vaguely sinister forces that move like rogue electrons in an atomically unstable as-yet undiscovered chemical element. The randomness, you see, is the point. The characters are always trying to “get to the bottom” of things, to “solve the mystery”, when clearly they are, in fact, the mystery. The setup of an invasive oceanic species sparks our heroes to action, but the action is diverted like the flow of a channel-surfing mad scientist: engrossing, at times even just gross, but mad all the same.

Each page, the translator tells us, stands on its own as a single-panel absurdist joke, while simultaneously connecting to the other panels/pages of the book. Merrily it glides along, merrily it detours, weaving a delightful amphigory. So gleeful is its deconstructive abandon it almost demands to be destroyed, asking for its pages to be torn out & turned into playing cards in a game whose rules you determine as you go. The experience of reading such a book is the inducement of ticklish vertigo — like Faulkner but in comics, & without the attempt at a heavily veiled plot. This book is the veil. As it wobbles, so do we.

A strange, brilliant journey; a treasure chest of black humor; a wandering, kooky dream — Masters of the Nefarious is as weird as it gets, y’all. Love!

—Cowboy Books

All images by Pierre La Police, courtesy of New York Review Comics, 2024.


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