I Will Bite You! by Joseph Lambert

I Will Bite You! and Other Stories
by Joseph Lambert
Secret Acres, 2011

Yet another disturbingly brilliant first book from someone a good ten years younger than me. This collection of Campbell’s minicomics and anthology contributions covers a wide variety of styles and approaches, and results in a surprisingly cohesive collection of short stories. Some of them are a bit self-consciously experimental, but there’s some very clever work here. A young girl shouts “MOM HELP!” from inside the stomach of a monster, but the monster seizes the word bubble and rearranges the letters so the mother hears “HELO MDM”. A devil is repeatedly tricked out of his icecream on his yearly parole to the surface by an equally devilish girl, and exacts an elegant revenge.

My favourite story is the hilarious Turtle, Keep it Steady!, an academic assignment (which ended up in The Best American Comics 2008, naturally) and retells The Tortoise and the Hare as a drum duel between the protagonists – the slow-but-steady Turtle’s audience of dancing animals is stolen by the Hare – so cool he drums with his ears, which leaves him free to roister and canoodle, going the way of all Keith Moons. The final double-page spread of animals getting down to the placid Turtle’s backbeat is delightful.

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