Saturday, 24 March 2018

Baking with Kafka by Tom Gould Review

An orangutan wins the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry - OUTRAGEOUS! The errors commonly made by inexperienced murder-mystery novelists - WAHAHAHAHA! The health hazards of becoming an author - the money and fame?! HILARIOUS!!!!?2o29289qwr

Yeah… literary gag strips aren’t very funny. I did laugh once at the Bad Writing Course joke but that’s one out of an entire book’s worth. The gags in general are more thoughtfully amusing and/or clever rather than actually LOL funny. 

So Tom Gauld’s back with another book of strips where he makes wry observations on all things literary, deconstructs genres and tropes, and so on - basically more of the same stuff we saw in his previous collection, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack. 

Presented as a clump like this, it’s easy to clock the formula for his cartoons: anachronistic artistic styles, silly alternate titles, meta-commentary, etc. so it gets dull and predictable fairly quickly. And like most strip collections, the stop-start style doesn’t make for the smoothest reading experience either. 

There are some creative ideas here and Gauld’s drawings are cute but for the most part the strips are unsubstantial, throwaway and immediately forgettable. Baking with Kafka is a pretty banal comics collection overall - the least interesting book I’ve read by Tom Gauld so far.

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