Saturday, 8 October 2016

The bus: in space and (on) time

The mundane city bus gets the attention it deserves with these wonderful Paul Kirchner strips. I wasn't a reader of Heavy Metal magazine, where they originally appeared, so I missed them until I saw this paperback in 1987 and I assume it includes all the strips from the magazine.

The humor is darkly observed, beautifully drawn and thankfully without speech bubbles. Mostly the strips have six or eight panels and usually involve a bald-headed, middle-aged gent who survives everything off-beat life can throw at him. There are also ten stories that have much bigger illustrations and run over two or three pages, the one called 'Working girl' is hilarious (about a bus of easy virtue) "I pick up men right off the street...I like a man who can pay his own way...who knows where he's going...looks aren't important." The last illustration is a bus laying on cushions and revealing the underneath of the vehicle, it's called Miss March.

If you like quirky timeless humor it's worth searching out the book and there are some quirky prices on the net, too. The paperback was published in the US by Ballantine and in the UK by Futura. The French publishers Tanibis re-issued them in 2012 in a hardback.

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