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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Weiner Dog Art - A Suspended Animation Review From 2003

A garage sale by any other name (yard sale, rummage sale) still smells as sweet.

Why? Because among the used clothing and useless junk one can also find cheap comic books, and comic strip collections like The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes.

Cheap is always good. Sweeter still is when a relative who haunts garage sales buys Gary Larson's Wiener Dog Art: A Far Side Collection for you. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Larson is famous for his quirky twist of the mundane events of life, of course. This collection of comic strips featuring piggish men and mannish pigs, cosmic aliens, giant insects, pirates, mad scientists and the kitchen sink, all with tongue placed firmly in metaphorical cheek, is no exception.

For those unfamiliar with Far Side, a terrified couple sinking into the living room carpet with the caption "And down they went: Bob and Francine—two more victims of the La Brea Carpets" should give you the flavor. And all of Larson's madness is drawn in a simple, big-foot style of cartooning that ladles gloops of ha ha's to already fall-down funny situations.

Cream on the pancake makeup of Larson's bizarre characters is a "here-tofore never published in book form" color section featuring his collection of wiener dog "fine" art. Each, of course satirizes a famous painting. My favorites include 'Pablo Picasso's' "Wiener Dog with Head Turned" and 'Edvard Munch's' "The Whine"—a terrified wiener clutching his jowls before a surrealistic background.

Indeed, surrealistic might best describe Larson's sorely missed comic classic, The Far Side.

Weiner Dog Art, any Far Side collection of comic strips, garage sales, and generous relatives who understand your nutty sense of humor are highly recommended.

Wiener Dog Art/108 pgs. & $7.95 from Andrews and McMeel/by Gary Larson/available at garage sales and used bookstores!

Review by Michael Vance