Meat Cake by Dame Darcy

Meat Cake
by Dame Darcy
Fantagraphics, 2010

A compilation of the first eleven issues (from 1992 to 2000) of Darcy’s comic, a playful, sinister variation on Edward Gorey with characters such as Richard Dirt, her best friend Strega Pez (whose speech emerges printed on a giant Pez tablet from a bloody wound in her neck), narcissistic mermaid Effluvia (who is perfectly prepared to cause a shipwreck if it means she can forage for new accessories) and conjoined twins Perfidia and Hindrance.

If Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins exploded inside a Victorian tea shop, it would look something like this, with bonus bludgeonings, faintings, knitted cosies and trickster Wax Wolf, whose catchphrase is “Tits ahoy!”.

The humour is perverse, like an alt-universe Kate Bush who grew up reading penny dreadfuls instead of Brontë, the drawings are obsessively crammed with fever-dream detail, and the author has the advantage of being able to make publicity appearances dressed as her own characters, which is not something most cartoonists should attempt.


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