Monday, July 03, 2006

SKY APE: KING OF GIRLS AiT/PlanetLar, 2005



Sky Ape is nominally about an ape with a jetpack who fights evil, which would normally be enough for me. But it is so much more than that. Sky Ape is an absurdist work of enormous gravity that reflects inane pop culture back at us, that grapples with the futility of existence, that asks us to look inside ourselves and face the void within -- that is Sky Ape's challenge to us, should we choose to accept it.

OK, I'm just fucking around. Sky Ape: King of Girls is all that and the proverbial bag of chips, but most of all it's a funny-ass comic book.

You know this shit's going to be funny when they start things off with a mace gag:

"It burns!!!" I don't know why, but I find mace - specifically people being sprayed with mace - very funny. This is coming from a guy who has never been maced, mind you.

Published by defenders of freedom AiT/PlanetLar and created by writers Phil Amara, Tim McCarney, Mike Russo, and artist Richard Jenkins, the Sky Ape books chronicle the mind-bending adventures of Kirk Madge, an 800-lb gorilla with a jet pack and a mean right hook. In King of Girls, Sky Ape and his allies have to bust up a charm school that is turning nerds into cads. Here, this guy explains it nicely:


The lothario mastermind Williamson equips nerds and losers with dangerous knowledge, and they proceed to use their newfound abilities to break the hearts of girls across America as Williamson's Handsome Men. The bastards MUST - BE -STOPPED!

The charm school is supposed to be the central storyline in King of Girls, but as much or if not more time is devoted to non-sequiters, weird tangents, and peripheral characters that Sky Ape's three writers throw out at a breakneck pace. It's a shotgun approach to comedy, and if not all the pellets hit the target, BFD.

For instance, we spend a lot of time getting to know a superhero team that has little to no bearing on the plot, just because they are funny:


My favorite would have to be The Brown Sommersault - I would pay to read a Brown Sommersault solo comic. "Foosha!"


Sky Ape: King of Girls' lunatic diversions and pop references are both its greatest strengths and its greatest weaknesses. Some of the pop stuff falls flat, and one gets the impression that the writers were so enamored with certain jokes that they couldn't let them go, even to keep the story moving. On the other hand, who gives a shit about story in a book like this? We're just here for The Funny, and Sky Ape has The Funny at an affordable bulk rate. I guess maybe I'm not looking for a plot per se, but rather some sort of focus. Or am I? Oh, I don't know what I want anymore. Leave me be, damn you!

Overall, I really dug Sky Ape, and I think you will, too. You'll laugh, you'll wonder, and you just might learn something. Like this bit of wisdom, for instance:

29 comments:

Andy said...

One of my ex-roommates once bragged to me that a woman maced him in a bar after he drunkely came on to her. I'm not sure why he was bragging about this since it basically indicates that he's kind of repulsive but from how he described it, "IT BURNS!" seems to capture it.

Anonymous said...

this comic sounds frighteningly family-guyish. which, allow me to clarify, is a bad thing. bad, bad.

also, i have seen someone be maced and it is hilarious. he actually maced himself and then a group of us laughed at him as he tried to cry it out while moaning hoarsely. i am fairly confident he would have been screaming if we weren't running a hose over his face while he lay on the ground, which would have drowned him.

Dan Coyle said...

Man, I love me some Sky Ape. The first collection showed that the greatest horror in the world would be Family Matters still on the air.

Greg said...

This is a very funny book, EXCEPT for the big super-team, which is funny for the first page but goes on for three more pages. Gaaah! It's like the Sideshow Bob walking into the rakes gag on The Simpsons - it gets old quick, and then it transcends comedy and enters the world of Dada. That's what those three or four pages of Sky Ape are. Other than that, it's funny.

And I have been maced (calm down, it was at a football game after we charged the field and the fascist cops didn't want us tearing down the goal posts) and mace jokes are STILL funny.

Bill said...

Family Guy is to The Simpsons as Sky Ape is to Flaming Carrot. There's more to humor than randomly spouting pop culture references. FC matched Sky Ape in references, exceed it in surreality ,and threw in a bit of focus and a plot. So if you like Sky Ape I'd suggest giving Flaming Carrot a try, too.

David Campbell said...

Word up - Flaming Carrot is excellent. It's the comic that brought the world Mystery Men!

Dan Coyle said...

Ah, Mystery Men. There are some parts of that movie that don't work (It's not very well edited, for one) but God, most of it his hilarious.

"Okay, back to graduate school. THAT WAS THE AGREEMENT!"

Sometimes, Sky Ape achieves heights of puzzle-box surreality that is comparable to The Invisibles. It's a fine, fine series.

kaneko said...

I love Sky-Ape. Where do you find this stuff? No, don't tell me. I want to stay surprised.

When I was in high school, I knew this guy who was a rent-a-cop. He and his buddies used to have mace fights. They would spray mace around like they were claiming territory: spraying each other, their girlfriends, and poor innocent empoyees at the Burger King Drive-Thru window. At the time, we thought they were assholes, but incredibly macho assholes to be able to laugh off a facefull of mace. Now that I am a wee bit older, however, it all makes much more sense to me. Assholes.

AnthonyF said...

Family Guy comparisons always scare me. But is it that same "It's only funny because I recognize the humor" stuff? Or is it new, wacky nonsense like Pee Wee's Big Adventure or something? Because that's funny. The lack of originality is what make Family Guy a blight on the face of comedy.

Anonymous said...

Does Family Guy have a big fucking ape with a jetpack? No. Sky Ape wins.

corbiscide said...

I will try and get Sky Ape.

As for Mystery Men, well people I know look at me weirdly when I mention this film.

*SIGH*

Corey Bond said...

Thanks for this. I ordered a copy for myself yesterday. And for anyone else wanting to pick this up from their local comic shop, Diamond's computer shows that they have it, and a couple of Sky Ape TPBs, in stock.

Chance said...

I was sold at "Wanna slap hams?"

Matt T. said...

I, too, would like to study the Collected Works of Lee Majors. I have no idea why that made me laugh as hard as it did, but it did.

Nick Nameless said...

I loathe Family Guy and love Sky Ape, so don't let that comparison scare you off. King of Girls definitely seemed a bit more "random gag"-ish than the previous Sky Ape books (all worth hunting down) but it's still an enjoyable read if you know what you're getting into ahead of time.

Oh, and two words: Fuckingham Palace.

Bully said...

The only thing I'd comment about Sky Ape is that the adult nature (mainly because of the language) surprised me. I picked it up because it looked cartoony and funny and i did enjoy it, but it ain't for kids. If I recall correctly, I looked carefully afterwards on the front and back cover and didn't see any warning about mature language.

I like this book. I'm just worried that because of the cartoony, kid-friendly look of it, it might get picked up by the young 'uns or their parents for them (I know, I know, parents should be looking at things they give their kids first) and then everyone is shocked and surprised when the kid starts saying "fuck."

I don't support censorship. And I don't mind if cartoony books swear. I'm just worried that this might wind up being another case for the CBLDF, mild though it is.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I've never been maced myself, but in Basic Training I was hit with tear gas a couple times. Not fun.

I just found your site, I'll have to stop by again soon.

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Nimbus said...

Hey, are you on hiatus again Dave?

Hmm, wait. During Hiatus Week/Month/whatever there were more posts than normal not less.

So does that make this Anti-Hiatus Week or something?

Thomas said...

True Story, Swear to God: I used to work in a gas station. One day I'm at the back of the store and I can suddenly hear a woman shouting. At the exact same moment, my nostrils fill with the smell of gasoline (never a good sign when you work at a gas station). I run to the front of the store to find an old woman, whose face is soaked with gasoline. And she is screaming... "It burns, it burns!". I rush her to the sink and flush out her eyes and call and abulance and stuff. As it turns out, the old lady couldn't figure out how to work the gas pump and basically shot herself in the eyes with gasoline. This was just a horrible event for me, but any time I tell the story, when I get to the "It burns, It burns!" bit, the my audience inveriably dies of laugher. Apparently there is just something inately hilarious about people shouting "it burns" when cheimicals are shot into their eyes.

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