Comic, Gart Darley, 16 pgs, [email protected], Rotten Variety, price not listed
Little-known fact: When James Joyce published his debut novel, A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, in 1916, it was generally believed that the text could only be improved by the addition of a popular “Muppets” character. Gart Darley finally made that dream a reality in his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Kermit, a 16-page satirical look at the contemporary zinester.
Darley’s Portrait has very little to do with the novel after which it is named, and very much to do with placing Kermit the Frog in recognizable situations in which he has no place being. For all its lack of subtlety, the image of Kermit lamenting his inability to sell zines (assumed to be a common plight among Rotten Variety’s audience,) is just funny, plain and simple. The combination of Darley’s dialogue, which pays little or no attention to the fact that it is scripted for Muppets, and the fact that Kermit is such a strange artistic choice to begin with, allows the whole product to work. Altogether, it comes across as cheeky.
Portrait’s art style is somewhere between a child’s colouring book and one of Dave Pilkey’s Treehouse Comix. It manages to connect the author to the very statement he is making — Darley may be gently poking fun at zine culture, but he does so from a place of love. If you see it hanging around, A Portrait of the Artist a Young Kermit is too good not to pick up. (Joel W. Vaughan)