Thursday, 5 May 2016

Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam by Simon Hanselmann Review

I’d hoped Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam would be as funny as Simon Hanselmann’s first book, Megahex, but it turned out to be a big of a letdown unfortunately. 

At the end of Megahex Owl decides enough is enough and he’s not gonna put up with the abuse from Megg, Mogg, Werewolf Jones, and everyone else - he’s gonna move out. But what I realised reading Amsterdam is that no changes actually stick in this series; it’s like a sitcom where everything resets back to their original setting with each new story. 

So Owl never moved out and none of the developments in this book - Megg and Mogg breaking up, Werewolf Jones going to jail, Megg and Booger taking their friendship to the next level - never go anywhere which is a bit unsatisfying. 

I liked the story where Megg gets sick of being around boys all the time, decides to hang with just the girls and gets sick of their feminine ways, realising she likes being coarse and slobbish. I’ve had female friends who’ve had similar experiences so it felt real as well as amusing. Megg’s gotten a lot nastier though since the last book - here she’s fucking on the floor of a carpark while eating a hotdog and taking a sneaky shit on the subway bench! 

And, while I liked him a lot in the first book, I ended up loathing Werewolf Jones in this one. His torture of Owl was too much. We learn he has a couple of really fucked up kids - whom he gives drugs and pimps one of them out in cam-shows despite only being 10 - who smash up Owl’s beak twice; Werewolf Jones fucks up Owl’s room by turning his closet into a sauna; and he keeps the harassment up even when Owl moves out of the house into a hotel for some peace and quiet! 

Werewolf Jones basically went from being outrageous and funny to sad and annoying to just being a loser fuckup who screws up everything and everyone around him and should kill himself immediately - not the best development of a character. That said, the only story I laughed out loud on was Qatar Felt Hat Expo when Werewolf Jones tries smuggling his kids onto a flight in black bags and loses it when he’s confronted by the TSA (“Cleanest pooper in the business”). 

Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam is the longest story here and it’s also the best. Megg and Mogg have a terrible time in Amsterdam after leaving their antidepressants behind but Owl saves the day when he flies out to join them. Meanwhile back home a desperate Werewolf Jones breaks into their empty house and turns it into a Fuck Zone where he can spread his herpes! This one shows Hanselmann’s skill as a longform storyteller rather than someone who can just do one-page gag strips (which make up a lot of this book). 

Otherwise, the majority of the stories here are just kinda meh. They’re not bad comics - Hanselmann is very skilled technically - but they’re unmemorable and unfunny. Art-wise, it’s more of the same of the first book. Grid-layouts, a blend of different colouring styles from pencils to paints, and the occasional trippy, visually interesting strip like when Mogg has a dream. 

Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam and Other Stories is worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series or are into stoner comedy comics, and there are some really good stories mixed in amidst the majority of mediocre stuff, but don’t expect the same level of hilarity that was in Megahex.

Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam

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