Beards of Our Forefathers by David Malki

Beards of Our Forefathers: A Collection of Wondermark Comic Strips
David Malki
Dark Horse 2008

I don’t often read The Onion, so I haven’t come across Wondermark before. The premise is simple: David Malki takes Victorian illustrations and puts lots and lots of dialogue on top of them in Blambot fonts. This sort of thing is presumably funner when read once a day at the excellent website – an entire book of them gets wearying fast, unless you really dig that whole Doctor Grordbert’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory schtick.

Having said that, this handsome book (the third collection currently available) has its charms. It includes a Pocket Guide to Ancestral Beards, and has a cute feature where you hold pages up to the light to read hidden text. On the negative side, the cartoons aren’t really that funny, the extensive annotations are redundant, and basically all of the content which is in text form is boring. It also contains less than 150 comic strips, which is poor value for US$14.95.

Far more interesting is The Comic Strip Doctor archive section of the website, one of many internet columns which examines lame comics in detail and suggests improvements. Unfortunately most of these improvements involve far too much dialogue.


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