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Funny Books - Greetings From Prickly City - Scott Stantis

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Greetings From Prickly City
Scott Stantis
Andrews McMeel Publishing 2005
128 pages

It is nice to get on the ground floor of something. Greetings From Prickly City is the first collection of comic strips by Scott Stantis. It takes a little getting used to art wise but once you accept the slightly surreal Coyote and the Roadrunner cartoon setting you will most probably grow to enjoy it very much.

Unlike many other comic strips, Prickly City is an editorial comic strip that addresses the political and social events of the day. Unlike the very long in the tooth Doonesbury, this strip is edgy, funny, fair and balanced (no, really!) though much more right wing and much less pro liberal than most newspaper comic strips out there. The name of this strip comes both from the setting, the desert and all its cacti and the fact the tone and content will definitely jab at you. The main characters are Carmen, a young and very outspoken girl, and her coyote friend Winslow. Scott Stantis only needs a few panels in Greetings From Prickly City, the first collection, to introduce you to these characters and firmly and clearly establish who they are, what their attitude is, and so on. This may sound easy to do but few first collections start that strongly right off the bat.

Comparisons are always unfair but an easy way to cut to the chase sometimes. Scott Stantis' strip is sort of a Calvin And Hobbes gone political and editorial. The relationship between Carmen and Winslow is reminiscent of the Watterson strip while the content will remind readers of the very early (thus much better) G.B. Trudeau.

Whether or not you agree with the political discourse behind Prickly City, you have to love any strip that features solid uppercuts to the left, jabs at celebrities who play politician, pokes at Moveon.org, and where Michael Moore goes to an anger management class and literally blows up. Although the blurb on the back of this collection claims "Loved by Ann Coulter!" the right also gets more than its share of hits. Especially funny is the series of panels where Carmen gets a cheque from the Republicans for espousing the party line.

Greetings From Prickly City. Get in on the ground floor.



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