Publishers Weekly, 2001-11-19 Once upon a time, picture books got parental approval and pulp comics were a sneaky pleasure. In this sequel to Little Lit, Spiegelman and Mouly create a hybrid of the two that may well appeal to oddballs of all ages. Charles Burns leads the charge with his high-impact cover image of an alien reading a boy's space comics. The alien has kewpie-doll eyes and a puppyish nose, but its sinewy muscles and lurid green skin pack a perverse threat. In the endpapers, which suggest a pulp-mag correspondence course, Underworld author Kaz offers "Strange Cartoon Lessons" cards ("Bad at drawing legs? Put your character behind a desk"). After these engaging diversions, the treasury trots out stories from the funny-ha-ha to the funny-strange, many dealing with secret identities. Spiegelman invents a boy whose moods materialize as clones; Jules Feiffer's anxiety-prone child gets "Trapped in a Comic Book"; and Jacques de Loustal and Paul Auster collaborate on a melancholy Kafka-esque noir tale. As the title promises, some of the material is disturbing. Maurice Sendak's punny "Cereal Baby Keller" reprises his violent sketch of a ravenous baby that eats its parents; Ian Falconer and David Sedaris team for a gruesome story of a monster that flips inside-out because "Real beauty is on the inside." More benign picks include an exhausting maze game by Lewis Trondheim, and Barbara McClintock's buoyant story of a shadow that breaks loose. A lengthy reprint of Crockett Johnson's Barnaby strip seems misplaced here, but its airy layout and square panels are a strong counterpoint to the condensed, offbeat material. This compendium, with its stellar group of comix and picture-book literati, revels in its dark side and suggests that "strange kids" are the mainstream. All ages. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.