rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm tempted to invoke TV critic Alan Sepinall's use of "dayenu" for this book, but as a non-Jew, I don't think I get to do it. So instead I'll go for the gentile version, which is to say that the book is fantastic on many levels, and would have been great even without the extra tidbits.
At it's most basic, Wondermark is a blend of Victorian visual sensibilities and modern-day/postmodern Internet humor, and instead of being jarring, it's hysterical. Malki has a sense of humor that is clever, insightful and just the right amount of bizarre. The strips made me laugh out loud more than once.
And each strip has several layers of gags. In addition to the strip itself, there's a title, an ad-on to the strip's link (rest easy at WONDERMARK!) and a bit of commentary at the bottom from Malki.
Even better, though, is that Malki has carried over this unusual sense of humor to the design of the book. The conceit that it is designed as a Victorian manual of health is evident throughout, from the picture of maladies that opens the thing to the "Malady Matrix" full of hilarious non sequiturs on each page that culminates in a gag explaining them all on the closing pages. Even little details, like the index or the notes explaining context, are done mostly for humorous value.
This is a fun book with an amazing design. I hope Dark Horse and Malki do several more just like it.
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