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Misery Loves Comedy Hardcover – May 30, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. An introduction written by the author's therapist describes the process of creating these comics as excruciatingly painful and painfully frightening. This puts Brunetti's minimal output—three issues of his cult favorite comic Schizo in 12 years—into psychological perspective. Brunetti's work does its malevolent work with an eye to the author's psychological underpinnings. Brunetti constantly offers up the worst possible image of himself alongside his portraits of a despised society. His festival of self-loathing, sexual depravity and brutal cynicism, is, however, amazingly clever and incisive. Whether from the point of view of a miserable comics artist and workaday hack, a nihilistic Jesus Christ or a raging feminazi, these rants are fascinatingly convincing, readable and smart. Not all readers will be able to tolerate the scatologically violent sensibility that is so brilliantly manifested in these pages, but for those with a taste for the most jaded views of our society and its inhabitants, Brunetti has long been a hero. Sharply self-aware, Brunetti informs his readers, I have a gift.... I can articulate what most people won't even face.... and it is this concise and energetic articulation that makes his work so great.
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Lately, Brunetti has distinguished himself as a comics-art authority by curating museum exhibitions and compiling An Anthology of Graphic Fiction (2006). Since the early 1990s, he has also produced his own comics, rife with monumental misanthropy and misogyny, not just in ostensibly autobiographical pieces indicatively entitled "Work Equals Degradation," "Life Is Shit," and "1,784 Things That Make Me Want to Vomit" (fortunately, the list sputters out at 50) but also in repulsive-yet-funny gag cartoons depicting perverted sex, scatology, and extreme violence. Distinguishing Brunetti from such other rudely transgressive alt-cartoonists as Johnny Ryan (Angry Youth Comix) are his artistic chops. As the collection documents, Brunetti's growth in mastery of the comics medium now allows him to give each strip the most effective, particular visual treatment. Like fellow comics creator and wretch Joe Matt, Brunetti, who draws himself as a dwarfish, huge-nosed schlemiel, is harder on himself than on anyone else, somewhat mitigating his relentless negativity. If the less-inspired pieces here are little more than text-heavy screeds, the best spin cynicism into pure comic-strip gold. Flagg, Gordon
Top customer reviews
There's nothing original about autobiographical comics from cynical people: Robert Crumb, Harvey Pekar, and Joe Matt made their careers out of exposing their flaws. But Brunetti pulls out all of the stops: his art is wild and grotesque rather than realistic, and his hatred extends to all of humanity.
And his art is really fantastic. It is dark, disgusting, and hilarious at the same time. The only time the book sags is in the second issue of Schizo, which includes a bunch of text only segments that aren't worth reading. By the third issue he goes back to comics and even deals with some new subject matter. While Brunetti is not for everyone, he is so passionate about his dark convictions that a lot of people will enjoy his comics who don't typically like this stuff.
It might also be therapeutic to observe another person over-indulging in self-pity and suicide-wish.
Nice drawing and intelligent.
I recommend this book if you are already a fan of Ivan Brunetti. His work is infrequent and you are no doubt craving more. This book will complete your collection.
If you are just getting acquainted with Brunetti's work, I suggest you start with a survey of modern graphic artists that will show you a few examples of his later, more 'mature' work. McSweeneys 13 comes to mind; it has some of Brunetti's lovely little graphic bios of famous artists and thinkers. Read that. You will be charmed and impressed. Misery Loves Comedy, however, is not for the faint of heart. Your girlfriend/boyfriend (or any discerning person) will be disturbed if they absent-mindedly select it from your bookshelf and start flipping through.
You have to know what you are getting into.
Misery Loves Comedy is one of the most disturbing comic collections I've ever read, but it is also one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. Ivan holds nothing back. He attacks everything and everyone. At first I thought he would just rant against conservative thought, which he does, but he also rants against liberal thought. The guy hates everyone equally.
This book is crude, rude, and disgusting, but it is also incredibly thought provoking. Be warned though, this is powerful stuff. Make sure you are up to it before you spend your money.