Monday, 1 November 2010

Review - Maakies With The Wrinkled Knees HC

Maakies, by Tony Millionaire, is a newspaper strip that has been running in the US ‘alternative’ press since 1994. It is about an alcoholic monkey (Uncle Gabby) and an alcoholic crow (Drinky Crow) who work as ship hands, have various surreal, alcohol fuelled adventures and kill themselves a lot. I own copies of the four previous volumes in this series, and I even have a Drinky Crow toy on my bookshelves, but for some reason this volume had been sitting in my ‘to read’ pile, unread, for a couple of years, so I figured it was well past time I got caught up.

The strips in ‘Maakies with the Wrinkled Knees’ are occasionally very funny, occasionally mildly amusing, occasionally not funny at all, occasionally obscene, and occasionally nonsensical – which is pretty much par for the course with this series. Even when it isn’t that funny or I just don’t get it, Maakies is always beautifully drawn, with lots of nice pen and ink drawings of ships, whales, and creepy children’s toys (etc.). However, as much as I like this series, I don’t think I will be buying any future volumes unless I see them very cheap.

I think perhaps the reason I was in no rush to read this book – even though it was quite a quick read – is because these books tend to be more or less the same sort of thing over and over again. Indeed, the first few strips in this volume were also in the last volume. I really like the Ramones but I have never felt the need to own more than one of their albums (admittedly it’s a compilation with 57 tracks on it) and I am starting to feel the same way about Maakies. I think that the five books I now own are probably enough and, if I’m being honest, I probably could have stopped after two or three books.

I do recommend reading at least one Maakies book, if you haven’t read the series before, and fortunately there are a couple of longer compilations available – ‘Premillennial Maakies’ and ‘Drinky Crow’s Maakies Treasury’ – each collecting five years’ worth of strips. ‘Premillennial Maakies’ seems to be out of print and is now quite expensive but ‘Drinky Crow’s Maakies Treasury’, which has a recommended retail price of £22.99, is currently available from the Book Depository for just £15.13 (it’s £19.54 on Amazon).

‘Maakies with the Wrinkled Knees’, which collects about two years’ worth of strips, has an RRP of £13.99 but is available from the Book Depository for £9.88 (Amazon price £12.59). I bought my copy when I had a mail order business and an account with Diamond, so I only paid ‘cost’ price, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that I got this cheap. Most of the time, I would have been better off buying my graphic novels from Amazon rather than getting them through Diamond (the useless mother f**kers). Still, although I don’t intend to carry on with this series, I don’t regret buying this book and I think I read it in the manner intended – i.e. drunk!

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