When it comes to webcomics, which are your tried and true weekly go-tos? A lot of people would say Cyanide and Happiness or XKCD, but for me Poorly Drawn Lines is a destination spot. It’s a webcomic that’s absurd, silly and at times deceptively meaningful. Not since The Far Side have I encountered a comic that has felt so philosophical. I take a look at the first and recently published book by creator Reza Farazmand.
Poorly Drawn Lines: Good Ideas and Amazing Stories (Plume)
This book collects many of the comic strips available online right now and also includes exclusive comics, as well as essays. It’s broken up between five chapters which include “The Natural World,” “A Better Tomorrow,” “Heavy Stuff,” “Unexplained Events,” and finally “Friends, Feelings, Lovers, and People”. Clearly it’s going to get deep. Hilariously silly, but serious too bro.
Why does this comic book matter?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The fact is this is a very nice sized book, which makes it a good coffee table book—or, sadly, to some extent—the bathroom. I say sadly because there’s some deep stuff in this book, but don’t worry if you only want laughs because it’s always the darker strips that bring on the deeper stuff. They’re funny, the joke usually is how messed up life is, but if you’re willing to think about things a bit that’s a very enjoyable part of reading this book too.
While it does get dark, which really sets this comic apart from the rest, it’s also outstandingly absurd. If you’re a fan of absurdist things like cats pretending to be dogs just because they are assholes, or parents who make very bad decisions for their children you’re going to love this book. Farazmand takes common things like squirrels in trees and projects common social aspects on them which not only works as effective social commentary but ridiculous moments of humor.
His art style is clearly minimalist to some extent, but what you don’t see in detail you see in comedic timing. It really is a wonder how few panels he uses to reach his punchline. Even more amazing is the deeper moments which also typically use a subtle closing of eyes and a panel or two to get across something quite deep.
Meanwhile, Farazmand incorporates essays into the proceedings. I call them essays because that’s what Farazmand calls them in his introduction, but really they are more like short skits heavy on dialogue or a few paragraph long stories. They don’t all knock it out of the park, but I certainly laughed out loud at the majority of them. It’s a fun element added here that shows a side of Farazmand you don’t see in the webcomic. If you’re a fan of the webcomic you must buy this for these alone.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The book is just under 200 pages and, having read the entire webcomic’s run, there are certainly many hilarious strips not in this book that are online. Farazmand’s character Ernesto for instance only gets a handful of strips in this book. Maybe this means we’ll get another book after this one, but if you ever wanted to share this webcomic with friends this shouldn’t be the only stop. The webcomic is still a must!
Finish this comic strip here!
Is It Good?
This is a pleasure to read from cover to cover. The comic strips will tickle your fancy and up your collection of absurdist humor. Not since Mox Nox have I enjoyed a funny book like this.