Everything I Need To Know I Learned On Jerry Springer, the newest (2007) Close To Home collection by John McPherson is superb. Owning most Close To Home collections -I am missing the first five, for now- I am always a bit scared that McPherson will eventually lose his touch and that his comic strip will no longer be my go to immediately comic panel in the paper. Everything I Need To Know I Learned On Jerry Springer clearly shows John McPherson is in excellent form. I am somewhat less thrilled by a couple of editorial decisions however.
I love McPherson's humor, take on life, dark side, ability to poke fun at our foibles, and everything else about this comic strip. A Close To Home collection is a keeper because you can always get a quick laugh or two when you open the book. Everything I Need To Know I Learned On Jerry Springer includes more than 300 comic panels and it is the variety of the humor that impresses most. Though many panels poke fun at dentists, doctors, and other members of the medical profession, others feature somewhat dysfunctional families or people. What I really appreciate is some gags are simply visual and need no caption to get the laugh, others are a little more elaborate, and some are clear references to what is in the news (such as the panel about the tune Who Let The Dogs Out?). Some are simply old saws turned on their heads such as the speaker at the nudist convention who tells himself "Picture them with their clothes on." The weird inventions panels are always good.
Everything I Need To Know I Learned On Jerry Springer includes many panels you wish you could cut out and put on the fridge or on a co-worker's desk which, in my book, is a sign a comic panel really works. In an ideal world there would be a peel away feature where you could take out a couple of favorites but still have the comic underneath so as not to damage the book.
Though John McPherson echoes a couple of previous gags in this latest Close To Home Collection -the "I need a three prong adaptor" joke of the NASA panel once appeared in a hospital context in a previous collection, there are very, very few of those.
My only caveat about the 2007 John McPherson collection is all the panels are colored. I really think it takes away from the art itself, especially since the colors are a bit surrealistic and uniform. Weekly comic panels are made to be in black and white with the Sunday panel getting special color attention and I believe the book should reflect that tradition. Also, though the title of this Close to Home Collection is kind of neat and savvy marketing wise, the only Jerry Springer related comics are on the back cover.
OTHER CLOSE TO HOME REVIEWS:
A Million Little Pieces of Close to Home 2006 collection
When Bad Things Happen To Stupid People 2005 John McPherson collection
Close to Home A short article on the series