Starkly Funny Comix from Madison
Been a long time since I’ve laughed out loud while reading a comic book, but I did so—and loudly—over Stark Plug Book. The work of Madison artist CHAP (aka Steve Chappell) has the cross-hatched sketching and gentle social snark of a ‘70s comix, yet is set entirely in the present tense. The long-nosed, bow-tied protagonist, Stark, is a wage slave stuck in front of a screen clicking, clicking his life away on a keyboard while his boss blathers on about productivity and downsizing.
The counterculture no longer offers much of an alternative—at least not in the person of Bernie the Banjo Bum, an old hippie busker who accepts credit card donations (with an old-fashioned swiper) and is mistaken for “some kind of performance art” by young hipsters passing by.
Stark, whose aspiration is to retire, suddenly decides to draw “the Great American Graphic Novel,” but fortunately, his creator has more modest ambitions. In a world of faux noir, up-the-navel graphic memoirs and all manner of hyper-seriousness, Chap just draws a funny cartoons about bedraggled everyday folks. Keep it up!
For more, visit www.starkplugbook.com.