Crass Sophisticate #16

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Crass Sophisticate #16 Creator(s): Josh Reinwald and Justin Rosenberg
Publishers: Self Published
From: USA
Price: US $ 2.00

OK true confession time. I have read quite a few of the “Crass Sophisticate’ series and initially I found them repugnant and distasteful but now I have to proclaim myself a fan. I am not sure that I am entirely happy with this transition but there is no denying it.

The art here is, as always, as raw and brutal as the subject matter. In this way the scratchy almost scribbled visuals are a perfect complement for the disturbed narratives.

Once again we find the main character and narrator playing his part as the tragic drunk. Pouring out his vitriol to one and all as he steadily consumes more and more alcohol. Once again he is a thoroughly unlikeable perversion of a creature. A lecherous, freeloading drunkard with no social graces and no awareness of just what a jerk he is.
Once again he is hilarious.

The sad and sorry tale he narrates is set at a party on Halloween. He arrives too early on his bike [in itself a tragic indictment on the character]. The monologue where he talks about his problem in always being early is wonderful, classic understated irony.

What transpires is an achingly embarrassing look at how one individual can, through his oafish behaviour, manage to offend a room full of people. He leers and then turns on there young woman [mainly because they lack big breasts] leers and leers again at another couple of young woman just out of their teenage years and when left alone in the flat gets down and dirty with the strawberry shortcake. He is a real mess and his ironical lack of self awareness is genuinely funny, in a sick kind of way.

The real strength of this comic is the revolting narrator. Hairy, drooling and drunk he has no redeeming features and how we love to see him make a mess of any social interaction he attempts to undertake. There is a perverse delight to be taken in the way the ‘normal’ people ultimately and inevitably turn on him.

In closing I would like to comment on the increasing narrative control evident here. There is a delightful cyclical structure employed that results in a most satisfying read. The past and present worlds are interwoven with increasing confidence and skill.

In short I know I shouldn’t be laughing but damn it I couldn’t stop myself. Reading ‘Crass Sophisticate’ will bring out the cruel streak in us all, so be warned.

In a Word: Cringe-inducing.

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