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snarf5
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spotty writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 5
Back Cover
Back Cover
(click for larger image)

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barefootz
Barefootz Funnies
AVERAGE SCORE 7
Snarf #5
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Only Printing / March 1974 / 36 pages / Kitchen Sink Enterprises
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After putting out four issues in the span of about a year, it took another year before Kitchen Sink published the fifth issue of Snarf. The front cover features art by Harvey Kurtzman that had been languishing for a year and a half before being used for this issue, but that doesn't stop it from being an adroit and hilarious skewering of the women's lib movement.

Alas, the rest of the issue doesn't quite live up to Kurtzman's sharp mockery. Evert Geradts gets the book off to a decent start with Johnny Sailears, a story about a young man (with big, floppy ears) who's told by his doctor that he has one day left to live. Johnny frantically tries to make the most out of his last day on Earth, with mostly disastrous results, before he hears again from his doctor.... The revelaton at the climax is utterly predictable, but it's sort of fun to go along for the ride anyway.

After an adequate Barefootz one-pager by Howard Cruse, Mark Morrison returns for another Doc story, but this one doesn't deliver as much understated wit as his previous one. In this seven-pager, Doc parries with a couple of dorky birds, but it stumbles along with only a few flashes of the clever word play that makes or breaks Morrison's particular brand of humor.


Cruse comes back to supply another Barefootz story in which Barefootz and his buddy Headrack try to help two cockroaches, Thornton and Veranda, conceive a new species of "super-roach." This singular plot drones on for 13 pages and, while readable, isn't very compelling. Cruse produced this epic about a year before he began Barefootz Funnies, and while it has all his trademark characters and whimsy, it seems to circle forever around a central theme that inherently lacks drama.

Geradts comes back for four-page animal story that evolves into an incessant rhyme that will have you either blandly amused or tearing out your hair (the latter is more likely). The book closes with a page of comic-strip parodies that come in the nick of time to salvage your funny bone, at least somewhat.

Snarf #5 risked quite a bit by devoting nearly half the book to a single Barefootz story and doubled down by giving Mark Morrison seven pages to hit a perfect note, and neither gamble paid off. But then, neither story was pure shit either (they both have their charms, to be sure), so this issue can be thought of as merely a dip towards mediocrity instead of a full-blown disaster.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
Kitchen Sink printed approximately 10,000 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.
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COMIC CREATORS:

Denis Kitchen - editor, 34
Harvey Kurtzman - 1
Pete Poplaski 1 (color), 34
Steve Stiles - 2
Evert Geradts - 3-7, 16, 30-33
Howard Cruse - 8, 17-29, 36
Mark Morrison - 9-15
Robert Crumb - 35 (ad)