By | Saturday, June 16, 2007 Leave a Comment
As I mentioned the other day, my bud Paul Horn has a new book out called Hodabeast. It's a collection of his comic strips from his Cool Jerk web site. In the interest of... well, helping a bud out, I figured I throw up a review here.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "But, Sean, if you're his friend, then aren't you just going to provide an absolutely glowing review regardless of how good the material actually is? How can I, as an impartial reader, trust your judgment on this?" And that would be an excellent point. Here's the thing, though...

This is a collection of comic strips that you can already read for free online. Every one of these is on Paul's web site. So, rather than try to convince you that the material itself is funny, I'll just point you to Paul's site and you can judge for yourself.

"So why should I even bother buying the book?"

Another excellent question! And that's where this review comes in! :)

First off, it's a nice package. It's a little hard to see in my scan here, but the cover sports the title of the book that's done entirely as a varnish. Which means that you can only read the word "Hodabeast" if you tilt the book to catch the light in just the right way. Personally, I think that's kind of cool, but The Wife said, "That's stupid -- you can't read the title of the book." Two opinions there -- take your pick. Oh, and Paul's name you see on the scan of the cover -- that's not printed on, that was individually signed in Sharpie.

The next point is that Paul's willing to personalize these for you. And not just a "Hey, Sean, thanks for buying this book" either. Check out what I found on on the first page of my copy...

The next cool addition to the book is one that I would love to see in more comic strip collections. Namely, on the pages where he can't run two strips for whatever reason, he fills up the space with extra notes and sketches. Personally, I really dig seeing this type of stuff, especially when you can see how several of them are directly tied to the strip itself.

Cool Thing Number Four (or Five, or Wherever I'm At) -- Six pages of Director's Commentary. Paul went through and annotated every strip, listing the original publication dates and various notes about the strips. Sometimes it's problems he had with his pens, sometimes it's the true story that suggested the strip in question, sometimes it's just a way to put the strip in historical perspective. Now me, I like seeing what goes into the production of things I like. Gives me a greater appreciation for the end product. So I find this type of stuff fascinating and I had fun reading through all of that.

And finally we have what is, as far as I know, an innovation in comic strip collections: an index. As in, "Wait, didn't he do a strip about Pauly Shore? What page was that on?" Amusingly, it includes references for the strip's two main protagonists, essentially listing every page! Coming in with the third most entries is the location of the strip, Spittle Beach, and fifth is a friend of the protagonists. "Wait -- what's in fourth?" Well, "cleavage" naturally. :)

So, all in all, it's a nice package. If you don't like the strip, I can't argue with you on that point. Everybody has a different sense of humor, so if you don't like what you see on Paul's site, you won't like this and there's not much I can do about that. But, for those of you who do find Cool Jerk entertaining, Paul goes out of his way to make Hodabeast a worthwhile purchase.
Newer Post Older Post Home