Binky’s Guide To Love by Matt Groening (287x287mm)
What!? Lynda Barry has been demoted from Funk Queen of the Universe!?
Anyway, this book completes the format journey: These collections started out as spine-less stapled things, and then they got a spine (friendlier to book stores), and then they lost the staples, and now we have a large-format hardback book: All respectable and stuff. And there’s more than twice as many pages as the other collections — it’s 125 pages long.
But… we have a return of the staple from the first few collections: A themed series on a subject. The last few collections had been themeless, but this time, we start off with a 25 part series about love.
Which is a kind of re-run of the series collected in Love is Hell, I guess, but Groening has more to say. And while many of the strips in the previous collection had seemed less… work-intensive… than Groening’s earlier work, here he’s back to his earliest style: Very dense, great visual variety, and very funny.
So something seems to have invigorated Groening. It’s not like Life if Hell was bad in the previous couple of years, but it seemed like it was more dashed off than earlier.
The Guide section lasts for 25 pages, and then there’s a hundred more of misc stuff.
The major new thing in these books is, of course, all the strips about Groening and his two sons (Will and Abe). So we get a lot of strips in the “kids do the darndest things”, but… funny.
And a couple strips about fame and stuff.
Another new thing is how Groening does a continuity (of sorts) over several weeks.
It seems like Will and Abe had a proper upbringing where they learned about all the important cultural icons.
Aaaand… with that strip, Groening is, officially, old.
And then there’s a study section…
… and since this is proper, serious book, we also get a proper, serious index.
It’s a really enjoyable book. Groening seemed slightly off form in the previous collection, but it’s all good again here. I do think the smaller, simpler format was more attractive, but what the hey.
This blog post is part of the Punk Comix series.