Shouldn't You Be Working? #2

Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2004
By: Amos Simien

Cover of Shouldn't You Be Working? #2 Creator(s): Johnny Ryan
Publishers: Fantagrapics Books, Inc
From: 98115
Price: $5.95

Fans of alternative comics know rising star Johnny Ryan from his comic book, Angry Youth Comix. However, since last year, Fantagraphics Books has been publishing an annual collection of Ryan's sketchbook doodles and workplace scribblings, and, boy, are the contents of Shouldn't You be Working #2 a dozzy. In Ryan's hands and beneath the merciless tip of his pen, everyone from famous cartoon characters to Ryan himself and his own creations get it the hard way.

The comic starts off with a bang, beginning with its cover featuring comic strip icons, Dagwood Bumstead and his boss Mr. Dithers, engaged in a death cage match. Inside is a collection of doodles, comics strips, and gags that defy the imagination of almost anyone except hardcore porn fans or people with the sickest imaginations. It's an onslaught of randy cartoons, racial slurs, talking penises, skid row versions of famous cartoon characters, excrement and fart jokes, gross body humor, and twisted caricatures that might give Basil Wolverton pause.

The most important thing about the book is that it's all done in fun. For all it's X-rated humor, Shouldn't You Be Working doesn't come off as pornographic or mean-spirited, or even dangerous, for that matter. It's like an extreme version of the kind of potty humour that goes over well in most teen and 20-something comedy films. Anyone who has read an issue of Ryan's Angry Youth Comix will recognize Ryan's dirty brand of yucks. If the names R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, or Victor Moscoso mean anything to you, you've tasted this salty flavor before Ryan. Still, I'd direct newcomers to AYC before Shouldn't You Be Working #2.

In a Word: Hilarious.

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