by Kyle Baker
I’ve heard people criticise Kyle Baker’s books as too slight, too quick to read, not enough content. But these people are probably the same people who can walk through the finest art gallery in the world in 5 minutes. You don’t have to pass more than a cursory glance over the artworks on show but maybe, just maybe, if you did you’d get more out of it?
Because Kyle Baker’s later work, Babies & Kittens, just like his previous book; The Bakers is absolutely wonderful. And when you put more into it, when you let your eye linger for more than 5 seconds on each page, when you invest in the page, then it just gets better, and better, and better.
Babies & Kittens, like The Bakers is pretty much a series of gag strips, sometimes singles, sometimes over a few pages. And make no mistake, they are all incredibly funny, all incredibly well drawn, beautifully designed. Hell, my hardback even smelt nice. (No, really. It had that beautiful just printed smell you sometimes get. Yum.)
In Babies & Kittens you’re back in Kyle Bakers life. Baker, his wife, two kids, one baby, one kitten, mayhem, mice, trip hazards and lots of funny.
But like a lot of gag strips the best way to review them is often to let the gags do the talking. So, at this point I shall hand you over to Mr Baker, busy making the house safe for one and all:
(Go on, admit it, you’re smiling aren’t you? It’s the look on the face on that final page that gets me every time. What you can’t get is the really vibrant, beautiful colour that hasn’t transferred to the scan. 6 pages by Kyle Baker from Babies & Kittens. (c) Kyle Baker.)
(And three panels from the book. Cute just doesn’t cover it does it? (c) Kyle Baker)
As I really hope you can see, Kyle Baker is just making incredibly funny and incredibly good comics. But the really marvellous thing is that there’s so much available. And it’s in two distinct flavours. You could choose his early books: I still think The Cowboy Wally Show is side-splittingly good and Why I hate Saturn is one of my all time favourite books on so many levels. But the artistry, the artwork, the just plain funniness and mastery of the gag strip in The Bakers & The Baker: Babies & Kittens is something else.
You really owe it to yourself, to your family, to your kids. Go out and buy Babies & Kittens. The laughter will make the world a nicer place.
Richard Bruton first laughed at Kyle Baker with the dedication & acknowledgements page of Cowboy Wally and hasn’t stopped yet. (Except with Nat Turner, which he always intended to be a serious book. However, pointing out that he does do serious when required rather diffuses the funny start. I shall stop now.)