Building A Better Bonehead Funnybook : “Mondo Groovy” Issue Two

As is no secret to regular readers of this blog, I’m not all about “high-brow” comics here, even if the majority of books I review fall loosely into that already-loose category. Nor am I necessarily all about comics that are executed with a high degree of so-called “professionalism.” If I were forced to pin down what I am about, in a nutshell, I’d say that my tastes run toward comics that are produced with intent, and that succeed in realizing their intentions, whatever they may be.

Which brings us to issue two of cartoonist C.J. Patterson’s self-published series Mondo Groovy, a book with obviously-discernible intent that’s executed in precisely the fashion necessary in order to realize said intention — it just so happens that what Patterson and writing partner Jeremy Rogers intend to do is to regale audiences with a steady stream of dick and fart jokes.

Okay, that’s not quite accurate — in the spirit of full disclosure, this comic is full of dick, fart, drug, booze, B-movie, and cat jokes. I don’t want to be accused of being anything less than comprehensive here. But if those dick, fart, drug, booze, B-movie, and cat jokes are by and large funny, and if the cartooning itself is fundamentally solid, then why not give these guys the “props” they’re earned for what they’ve managed to accomplish? I mean, I’ve read too many lousy “gross-out humor” comics to count at this point, so if one comes along that actively entertains me, far be it from me to “diss” it solely on the basis of what it is.

Sophisticates, then, obviously needn’t proceed any further, but I’m not sure how many of that unfortunate lot are numbered among my readership, anyway. For those of us willing to ‘fess up to the fact that we don’t mind a bit of juvenalia for its own sake on occasion, this is a fun, absolutely un-demanding, and reasonably well-drawn collection of short strips (most of which, to my understanding, were originally posted during those long lockdown months on Patterson’s Instagram) that are fairly high on the chuckle quotient and sometimes even have the ability to make you laugh out loud, even if it’s entirely in spite of yourself. My advice, then? Loosen up and go with the flow, or go someplace else.

If you do go someplace else, however, you’ll be missing out on something that’s really rather rare in the particular metaphorical sandbox Patterson and Rogers are playing around in — something so rare, in fact, that one could be forgiven for thinking that it’s completely anathema to it : artistic development. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as getting better at doing mindless “gag” strips, and the creators of this comic are doing just that before our eyes. This progression is down to a number of factors — Patterson’s improving skills as an artist, the duo’s increased confidence in their material, the switch from black and white to quite nicely-done full color and, above all, the wise dismissal of long-form narrative in favor or nothing but short strips — but it’s in no way subtle. I was mildly entertained by the first issue of this series, but this sophomore effort was, the occasional “clunker’ aside, a damn good time from first page to last. And given that’s precisely what the publication was striving for, I’ve gotta say that it’s earned a tip of my hat.

This book is also — and I can’t stress the importance of this enough — absolutely and utterly devoid of pretense, and that’s as crucial to its efficacy as anything else. Patterson and Rogers are seeking to do something very specific here, and to do it in strip after strip, and they pay absolutely no heed to outside concerns (including, refreshingly, critical response) along the way. They’re either blissfully unaware that people who consider themselves “too good” for some stupid fun exist, or they’re aware of them and simply don’t give a fuck what they think. Either way, they’ve made a comic that’s downright giddy about its purportedly “low-rent” sensibilities, and as a result I have to say that their honesty is what impresses this critic most.

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Mondo Groovy issue two is available for $6.00 from C.J. Patterson’s Big Cartel shop at https://mondogroovybooty.bigcartel.com/product/mondo-groovy-issue-two

Review wrist check – Raven “Trekker 39” yellow dial/black bezel model, on bracelet.