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Jog is a Pliable Ball of Review: Never stop believing in childhood wonder or the comics of 10/3

Joe McCulloch

I think I’ll spread these new comics reviews out over the next few days, although I’m also going to have my column up later tomorrow, I hope.

Gumby #3: It’s been a while since the last proper issue of this Bob Burden/Rick Geary revival project; the Shannon Wheeler-written FCBD issue didn’t do the trick for me, Mark Bodé guest sequence or not. Luckily, this is a nice 35-page chunk of story. Unluckily, pages 18 and 19 are duplicates, although nothing seems to have gotten pasted over. I think the paper quality’s been downgraded too?

Regardless, I do have a soft spot for this series; there’s a special quality to Burden’s mix of musty old pop culture references, occasionally bracing oddness, and gently melancholic childhood reverie that kneads well into Geary’s chunky drawings and Steve Oliff’s bright coloring. There’s a real square energy to the book that keeps me reading.

This issue sees Gumby trying out the adult world while his parents are hypnotized into thinking a pile of potatoes are him, leading to Gumby’s participation in both kitchen hi-jinx (“OH NO!! GUMBY’S FEET ARE COOKING!“) and a timeshare scheme masterminded by cannibal salesmen. When their boss is asked if he feels bad about all the people they ate, he replies “Not my responsibility! They were independant contractors!” I laughed at that, and actually felt myself age for a moment. There’s also a giant porkchop attack, a war between Zodiac spirits and laser beams hidden in teeth, and jarring ruminations on death and artificial preservatives. Ha ha, Gumby scares the pork chop by changing into a fork!

I mean, this is a weird book. And not just because ‘weird’ things happen, but because it’s using the form of a kids’ licensed character comic to broadcast an awfully specific set of veiled adult concerns. It feels like a really personal comic, to the point where Gumby’s very presence seems more surreal flourish than… Gumby having a comic. GOOD for me!

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