By Babak Ganjei
Okay…… well…. hmmm….. I started this, got about 10 pages in and put it down. Nothing. Not a thing clicked.
But I am stupidly tenacious and driven to obsession, particularly with reading, so I picked it up once more and plowed on through. Which probably isn’t something Ganjei wants to hear as a description of his work.
But how about if I tell you it gets so much better? If I tell you it worms its way in? The rough, incredibly simplistic artwork may be an issue, but just like the difficult, rough, and yes, often incredibly simplistic storytelling, it takes a while, quite a long while, until the eye and brain adjusts and begins to see something good in it.
You may not stick around to see it, and that would be a shame, since Ganjei has something of the Chester Brown, the Jeffrey Brown, about his work. The Jeffery Brown reference is an obvious one, and explicit… and not uncommented upon by Ganjei, but in doing so he manages to turn it into yet another downbeat, self-deprecating gag:
Indeed, I imagine your enjoyment of this will hinge upon how much tolerance you have for the utter self-deprecation Ganjei exhibits. We’re in pure misery territory here, Joe Matt without the excessive masturbation if you will. But like Joe Matt, amidst the self-flagellation is a humour, knowing, certainly, but no less funny for it.
The main character is unflinchingly honest, brutally so at times, and since it’s Ganjei himself on the page, his honesty is brave, as he paints himself resolutely as an overthinking depressive stressed out dad in mid-midlife crisis, whose arts education and interest in making music and comics means he’s unlikely to be able to make any money anytime soon.
So yes, it runs as a series of woe is me type strips, and like I say, your tolerance for these may differ. But Ganjei’s appeal to me comes from the continued flashs of comedy timing, the flights of fancy, the cleverness he exhibits at stages through the work.
It’s by no means perfect, not at all, and there were times it seemed to drag, yet another play on the same thing with little extra to say. But that was just about made up for by those moments where he said his thing in a clever, witty fashion.
I warmed to it, and halfway through, his tales of parenting, of crappy, nothing jobs, casual drinking, making music without much success, self-doubt, minor misery and more, had just about won me over.
By Babak Ganjei
Twit is Hilarious Consequences condensed, consisting of three panel strips in a little landscape format book all based on tweets sent by Ganjei, described by his website as “dealing with totally not depressing themes such as… single parenting, poo, emotional eating, getting old, feeling old, the changing nature of the music business“.
The thing is, without the slightly longer form of Hilarious Consequences I just found these too often veering into the same old same old. In Hilarious Consequences, the extra space allowed Ganjei a little time to flesh out his concerns, to lay out the gag, or pile on his misery before delivering the punchline.
Stripped of that space by the tyranny of the 3 panel strip format this collection suffers slightly. A common problem with strip cartoons, and one that I imagine may be alleviated by simply catching these one a day online perhaps where I reckon they’d raise a smile more often than not, but here, presented in one huge outpouring, it’s a little too much to deal with pleasantly.