All right, this is long overdue. But here’s the first of a string of product reviews, starting off with Rob Balder’s Partially Clips compilation, Suffering for my Clip Art.
It was the last Washington Webtoonist Meetup, and as per usual it was Rob and I amongst the first to arrive. He greeted me heartily, and had a large cardboard box with him. Naturally, I asked him what was in the box. And there they were, fresh copies of his brand new comp. We had a brief preview at the previous meetup, but here was the final product. And how excited was I to receive my very own copy for free, signed with the positive message, “The Future is Happening!”
Ok, enough euphoric nostalgia. I got to the metro station to wait for my train home, and I cracked open the book. No sooner than I had finished the first page, I was laughing out loud (”lol”-ing for those inclined) uncontrollably.
The difference between this book and his previous efforts was significant. His older books were chronological collections, composed of strips from one point in time to another. What he did with this book is a smarter route to take, the “Greatest Hits” method.
So I was absorbed by this book on the entire trip home, speeding through gleefully. Page after page of indomitable funny. And it’s a cool feeling to read this having only been slightly familiar with the strip beforehand, because this was a crash course into what Partially Clips is. Working around clip art is surely some tricky stuff, and it makes Rob look like a comedic genius to read through this book (which may be a bit grandiose in description, since it’s a best-of; the lesser funny strips are not included in this volume). And this is only a portion of what is very close to a whole four years of work.
As far as a description of the work, if you’re not familiar, is quite simple. Rob’s bought tons and tons of stock clipart. He studies these images, and manages to squeeze out sweet, succulent hilarity. I think I’m going to make it a point to experiment with clip art comics to get an insight on the process, seems like it’s a lot of fun to do.
I’m slowly realizing what a tremendously glowing product review this is, so I better look again to see what’s wrong with the book. As such, the downsides of this book are minimal. I would’ve liked to have seen a bit of creator commentary. That, and there’s no real introduction or text of large quantity aboutthe material itself. Which all may be positive depending on the intent. I suppose if the object was to have a straightforward bare-bones collection of strips, letting the material speak for itself, then mission accomplished. And perhaps that’s apt, the material certainly is strong enough to stand out on its own (anyone reading this review who’s not familiar with Partially Clips should start reading… like, now). But Me? I like a little bit of creator commentary and introduction. I feel like I’m getting a little more out of my books when those are present.
At any rate, this book gets a solid recommendation from me. An affordable $15 for a book that’s, frankly, really fucking funny.