Wednesday, September 5, 2012
BIG, FAT, AND GREASY IS NO WAY TO GO THROUGH LIFE, SON: A review of GAPO THE CLOWN: BIG, FAT & GREASY
Culture has had a long tradition of inappropriate clowns. Please welcome to their ranks someone who is possibly the filthiest clown in history: Gapo.
Gapo is the host of a children’s TV show, much like Bozo, but he absolutely hates his job. He hates kids. He hates . . . well, just about everything, except for dirty sex, gallons of booze, and other people’s misery. This volume collects all the comic strips he starred in over the years, and it chronicles his adventures with a tapeworm, a homicidal co-host, his family issues, a big-tittied stalker, and . . . is that comedian Jim Norton? Holy fuck, it is. What the hell is he doing in this book?
Norton is in his element. Gapo can’t possibly sink lower in this book. Imagine Bad Santa ratcheted up to about a thousand, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. At one point, Gapo kills a little girl with the power of his flatulence. That’s right, a child died in that joke. At one point, he accidentally finds himself enslaved to work at a theme park, and the only way he manages to escape is by killing a giant gorilla with a bocce ball. And let’s not forget the time that he carelessly burns down a co-worker’s apartment and is the only one on staff who doesn’t offer her a place to stay.
Yeah, he gets up to a lot in this book. There’s the quarrel he has with his midget brother over a cheeseburger (and not just any cheeseburger, but the greatest cheeseburger in history, of which no one can make any more because the cook died in a eating contest without telling anyone the recipe) which gets resolved after a bit of help from one of the show’s head writers. There’s the incident where Gapo gets a tapeworm and decides to keep it as a pet. Or how about when a co-host is hired for the show? You know, Licorice. The European clown who keeps the souls of children in a jar in his pocket and who claims he’s not here to hurt Gapo but to KILL HIM.
For all of this (including many awful depictions of Gapo’s hairy, doughy nudity), writer and artist Tony Miello doesn’t really swear. When it comes to some of the nastier ones, he uses symbols, like some kind of old-timey comic book.
But despite all the wonderfully obscene jokes, there are flaws. For instance, Miello relies on the same joke over and over again and thinks self-reference is enough to not get his readers to notice it. He also seems to not be able to use the word “you’re.” It is ALWAYS “your,” no matter what. And it seems kind of forced when characters break the fourth wall. The worst, though, is the first strips. It takes him a while to warm up. As a result, the beginning just seems lame. However, that is the case with most strips. As soon as he finds his path, he blazes down it like a madman. By the time you’ve reached the end of Gapo’s misadventures, you’ll be hungry for more.
Slog through the beginning. It’s tough, but when you get to the good stuff, you’ll be very happy you stuck with it. There is a pot of gold at the end of this fetid, shit-stained, cum-encrusted rainbow, and you’ll be glad you found it. (P.S. Keep an eye on the cover. Check out the titles in his library.)
GAPO THE CLOWN: BIG, FAT & GREASY
Written and illustrated by Tony Miello
Published by Transfuzion Publishing