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The Louche and Insalubrious Escapades of Art d'Ecco
posted June 30, 2006
Andrew Langridge, Roger Langridge
Fantagraphics Books, Trade, 160 pages, $16.95
I'm not sure I wanted to review this book as much as I wanted to type out that title, but this is a welcome, handsome collection of the Langridge Brothers late-'80s/early '90s work in places like the series Art d'Ecco
and the first issue of Zoot!
. Drawing largely on mid-20th Century wordplay-driven humor, particularly of the kind that one might find on the well-established comedy chain from The Goon Show
through the various Monty Python efforts, the Langridge Brothers work with various recognizable ensemble balances: the Gump by himself, the Gump with Art d'Ecco, the Gump with Art d'Ecco and Art Nouveau, and even large ensemble teams with one or two characters worked in as with the desert island masterpiece "The Secret Origin of the World." The writing reads like a cross between stage and radio work, with constant attention to the position of the audience and a number of digressions that make you stop and read them again before laughing. Unlike the more classic-seeming and fluid Hotel Fred-era work, the Roger Langridge making art here sticks to various rigid comics page constructions and basic ways to add a beat here or there through panel arrangement and adding a an extra tier. Setting up comic timing by the ways the eyes bounce from panel to panel. This is high-quality work, marred only by an occasional exhaustion from everyone working so hard at such a high energey level. It's the kind of comic where you feel proud of yourself if it makes you laugh.