Everything about Minneapolis-based cartoonist Peter Faecke’s Major Bummer #2 is painfully obvious — but the same was also true of the first issue (published, as this one is, by Hidden Fortress Press), and it’s rather the point. I’ve never known Faecke to do subtle, but is that some great artistic sin? Kirby didn’t either, after all, and would you really have wanted him to?
So, yeah, Major Dick Bummer, the US government’s deadliest weapon (living or otherwise) is back to kick more ass, and speaking of kicking ass, this offset-printed mini on heavy cardstock paper features a pleasingly limited and appropriate garish color palette that does precisely that, accentuating the visceral, vaguely Panter-esque impact of Faekce’s deliberately “crude” cartooning with a blast of blue, red, and black gradations that kick you in the eyeballs as surely as the drawings themselves kick you in the — well, let’s be equal-opportunity here and say “private region.”
There’s a “story” here, such as it is, but how much the specifics really matter is debatable — Major Bummer takes on the rough equivalent of Marvel’s Secret Empire or Cobra of G.I. Joe infamy, then tussles with a killer robot (“creatively” named R.O.B.O.) that should give him a run for his money but, of course, can’t — but at the end of the day, it’s an uncharacteristic bout of introspection that confronts Bummer with the one foe he can never overcome, namely : himself. As far as satire goes, it’s bluntly effective, but it’s got some things to say about hyper-masculinity and even nihilism that are, again, entirely expected, but no less well-taken for that fact.
That’s a skill in and of itself right there, of course — the ability to serve up to readers exactly what they think they’re going to get and still make it both funny and reasonably thought-provoking — but matched with solid, no-frills illustration and genuinely witty (not to mention overwrought by design) dialogue, the results actually mange to be better than they probably have any right to be. This is brute-force stuff with a both a brain and no fucks to give, and around these parts, that hits the same kind of “sweet spot” that the work of, say, Rick Altergott or the various and sundry collaborators working on All-Time Comics does.
Maybe that means this is a comic that you don’t admit you like to your sophisticated (or, as is more likely the case, pseudo-sophisticated) friends, but that only makes it all the more awesome because, as anyone can tell you, guilty pleasures are the best kind. And who are we kidding? It’s not as though you actually like those snobby so-called “friends” of yours, anyway, so comics like this — that say “fuck ’em even if they can take a joke” — are worth their weight in gold.
Which, admittedly, is only a couple ounces — this is a mini, after all. But you gotta take what you can get in this world — and while you’ll probably get a lot more comics than this one (unless you’re a really picky buyer) in the years to come, you likely won’t get many that are more sheer, unadulterated, gleefully stupid, un-self-conscious fun.
Major Bummer #2 is available for $5.00 from Peter Faecke’s own site, The Stink Hole, at https://thestinkhole.storenvy.com/products/28076670-major-bummer-2
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