Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Cowboy Wally Show - Kyle Baker

Easily the funniest graphic novel I’ve ever read. (Although in this industry that’s almost damning with faint praise)

Cowboy Wally is a fat, ignorant, alcoholic idiot with no talent whatsoever. Of course, these slight character flaws haven’t stopped him from becoming a player in the entertainment industry. This book chronicles his chequered career, including his troubles with a senate committee, a brief spell in jail with his cranky writing partner Ed & the production of Hamlet they put on together starring their fellow inmates, to his highly-rated talkshow on late night television.

To pick a best bit amongst this lot is like asking you to pick your favorite Fawlty Towers episode. But here’s a taster:

[From Wally & Lenny's version of Hamlet, filmed in a week, for tax reasons, in a prison cell. To make Shakespeare easier, Wally has rewritten the play]

Francisco: Accidental death, says the Queen. The King fell on his sword.
Bernardo: Wow.
Francisco: Eight times.
Bernardo: Sounds fishy to me.
Francisco: Hey, I don't see nothing, I don't hear nothing. That's what they pay me for.
Bernardo: You're the palace guard.
Francisco: And I want to keep it that way.

Kyle Baker's skill isn't so much in the story as in the quick-snap dialogue and outbursts of pure farce. Baker understands the rhythms of repartee and the timing of punchlines. Cowboy Wally is quite simply, side-splittingly, fall-down, tears will roll funny.

If you don't find it that funny, check your damn pulse.

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