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judy tunafish
average writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Judy Tunafish
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Only Printing / 1973 / 28 pages / Adam's Apple Distributing
Tho I sez dis George Hansen comic ain't da best I seen, he's shore done woise comics dan dese here, I kin tell youse.

The thing about George Hansen is his comic drawing style is really rather likable, apparently (and reportedly) inspired by 1930s comic strip art, especially George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Some have said Hansen tried to emulate the drawing style of Robert Crumb, doubtlessly for the "big feet" style that Hansen also employed, as well as the ink hatching that pervaded Hansen's walls, floors, skies and furniture. But surely if you were truly trying to emulate Crumb, you could do a better job of it than Hansen with his ridiculous boat-paddle noses and Popeye forearms.

Besides, who really cares if a cartoonist tries to copy Crumb's style? There's hardly a better one to mimic than the master. The problem for me is the writing. Too many of Hansen's strips seem to end with the main character illogically 1) fainting or diving out a window, 2) shouting "Get Fucked!!!" or 3) shouting "Who Gives a Shit?!?" There's also a lot of endings with whirlwind fights, kicks in the ass, or punches in the kisser.

But Hansen has his fans, to be sure. Jay Lynch said he enjoyed Hansen's comics because they were "so crazy and unpredictable...these were comics that actually made us laugh, whereas most comic of the era were more serious and not so off the wall." But even Lynch admits that some of the underground artists from the early '70s "really hated Hansen's stuff."

So what to make of it? Well, I don't hate Hansen's stuff, and sometimes it's as good as Lynch remembers it; Choice Meats Comics are two of my favorite "off-the-wall" smut comics and Hansen was all over those. And Like Nobody's Bizness features some lush illustrations that show off Hansen's skills to great effect. But in Judy Tunafish, I think the writing is not so crazy or unpredictable, and it doesn't make me laugh. Whether it's the Wackoffs figuring out what they "wanna do to-nite" or Judy Tunafish getting yelled at by a husband tossed out of his house, we get the same fainting and "get fucked!!" payoffs I just complained about. There are several "P.J. Pooper" one-pagers that recycle the same concept to the point of monotony. Sure, some of the comics are amusing and a lot of illustrations are graphically engaging, but Judy Tunafish is less like Choice Meats and more like Let's Not 'n Say We Did Funnies, which suffers from a similar lack of inventiveness.

Not that Judy Tunafish is insufferable. As a decorative comic book that evokes comic art from decades past while integrating formerly taboo subject matter (admittedly, like Crumb's comics), Judy Tunafish delivers the goods. As long as you don't expect Zap Comix or Dirty Laundry you might have as much fun as Jay Lynch.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.
George Hansen - 1-28