Thursday, January 11, 2018

Reader's Diary #1705- Tom Gauld: Baking with Kafka

Ignore the pretentious blurbs on the cover of Tom Gauld's Baking with Kafka collection of comics; the ones that praise his "irreverent erudition," "timeless truths about the human condition," "the hubris and frivolity of humankind." Yes, it has Kafka in the title, yes it has some of the stylings of Edward Gorey (with simpler pictogram characters*), but it's funny first and foremost. Sure it would help to have an appreciation of reading and writing to really get the targets of his punchlines, but those other reviewers make the book sound all but accessible to the non-snob. Yes, Gauld makes some enlightened points along the way, but he's also not afraid to get silly. Think Kate Beaton's brand of humor.

*I tried to see if those classic people icons from signage-- you know the black or white silhouetted ones you find on bathroom doors, wheelchair spaces, walk signs, etc worldwide-- have a proper name and found surprisingly little info online. I think the history of these designs could make for a fascinating, and apparently needed, graphic novel. Perhaps by Box Brown, Scott McCloud, or even Tom Gauld himself?

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