||[Dec. 11th, 2007|02:38 pm]
This was published in today's issue. Somebody screwed up and it got printed twice on two different pages, which isn't the kind of mistake I'm too upset about. Twice as likely to be read, yeah?
100 COMICS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE (or grow out of them)
#100 WHY I HATE SATURN – Kyle Baker
"You know, there's nothing like a festive atmosphere to depress the hell out of me."
Why I Hate Saturn is a self-consciously hip story about a self-consciously hip, and also perennially single, New York magazine columnist. If Sex and the City was always as insightful, clever and funny as it sometimes is, Why I Hate Saturn is what it would be. Anne – the aforementioned magazine columnist – smokes and drinks like her life depends on it and lives like a pig; a cosy life that threatens to become an episode of The Odd Couple when her sister Laura shows up to stay. Laura, you see, is a clean-freak vegetarian health nut who claims to come from the planet Saturn.
It is at this point that the story becomes strange.
Kyle Baker tells his tale with a cast of sketchy ink caricatures, drawn as big-mouthed as they talk (they are from New York after all). The dialogue and narration take place outside the frames, almost like subtitles, which takes a little getting used to – you can get so wrapped up in following the text it’s possible to neglect the excellent artwork. Even so, it’s easy to follow and there’s never any confusion as to who’s talking despite the lack of balloon tails, with a lot of the dialogue being the kind of snappy two-shot back and forth that flows easily.
Most importantly, Why I Hate Saturn is laugh-out-loud funny. For 1990 humour it’s aged well, avoiding the cloying air of affected cool that haunts the slacker movies of the period. It achieves that by directing its satire towards its own defiantly non-conformist characters as much as they send up everyone around them, by never condescending to its readers or giving in to the lazier varieties of cynicism.