SimonHanselmann, 212 Pages, Fantagraphics Books, fantagraphics.com, $29.99
If the Universal Monsters were Cheech and Chong, you’d have something approximating MegaHex.
The first all-new original collection of Australian cartoonist Simon Hanselmann’s Megg, Mogg and Owl webcomic is on the surface a base-level stoner comedy featuring Megg, (a witch) Mogg (her black cat and lover) and Owl (their anthropomorphic owl roommate). They sometimes hang out with Werewolf Jones, (a werewolf) Booger, (a “gender-illusionist”) Boogeyman and Michael (a guy who could be a wizard or just someone who likes to dress as one).
It’s easy to see why Megg, Mogg and Owl is so popular on the web and as a syndicated comic for Vice. The sophomoric humour of this stoner comedy is much easier to digest and find amusing in small doses, but in this graphic novel form it tends to assault you with its Jackass-like stupidity (i.e., Werewolf Jones going at his balls with a cheese grater).
It’s only in the last-third that the work begins to transcend its stoner set-up and you start to see the depression, co-dependence, and lack of motivation that keeps them in a perpetual state of arrested development. It quickly morphs from stoner comedy to stoner tragedy, but even these insights aren’t enough to rescue the work from its earlier unintellectual missteps. If the Tom Green Show were a comic, this would be it. Unfortunately in a concentrated 200-page dose, it’s perhaps more gratingly annoying than Freddy Got Fingered. (Aaron Broverman)