The Legacy by Andrew McGinn & David Neitzke

The Legacy
by Andrew McGinn & David Neitzke
Dragon Fish Comics, 2009

A one-shot book with a great premise – unsuccessful* alternative cartoonist Chas Brown inherits his father’s massively popular newspaper comic strip and is expected by the syndicate to carry on its tradition of unchallenging humour and fuzzy sentiment, like the execrable Family Circus, or Garfield if it had a soul.

Chas has other plans, though, and with the help of an attractive and subversive* associate editor, sets out to sabotage the strip by inserting increasingly inappropriate and hilarious material. To his dismay, the syndicate doesn’t care “as long as he doesn’t monkey with the character design”, which would affect merchandising. Once he discovers his father used to draw horror comics, but moved to newspaper strips because it would allow him to spend more time with his family, Chas begins to have second thoughts about trashing the comforting legacy of Simple Pleasures and develops a sense of responsibility.

At this point, a simile is employed to compare jazz appreciation with the avant-garde pleasures of graphic novels, versus the long-term simple entertainment of comic strips. Except, the comic strips are supposed to be like jazz.

Well, that makes perfect… WHAT?! Are they listening to the wrong sort of jazz here? Or reading the wrong sort of graphic novels? Or both? Isn’t inventive, original, colourful jazz more like graphic novels, while newspaper comics are more like dependable, traditional, sincere… blues?

Okay… Peanuts is jazz. But only Peanuts.

The epilogue, set in 2036, is subsequently horrifying.

*This may be a redundant adjective.
**Okay, this is definitely science fiction.

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