Reading Pile: Sharky Malarkey & The Many Deaths of Scott Koblish HC
So after watching through and absolutely loving Megan Nicole Dong's Centaurworld I went ahead and pulled the trigger on her Sharky Malarkey book, and I feel like this was one of my better life decisions for it has brought me much joy. Now a lot of this is available for free on her tumblr page, but I enjoy physical media and appreciate having it compiled in a nice edition.
A good chunk of it is just one off joke sequences, but there are nice sections dedicated to particular areas of interest such as, you guessed it, sharks. And bless Dong for making all of her sharks just a little bit extra.
I also appreciate that Dong inserts a healthy amount of modern existential dread in nearly all of her gags.
Part of me just wants to keep sharing bits from it so I'll stop now, but it's just the type of book where you just want to share the messed up humor with other likeminded friends. It's well worth the $14.99 retail price but I have spotted it going for less online. I'm going to want to lend and gift this to a bunch of people though, so you may want to snag a copy before I absorb all of them.
....Ok, just one more.
Koblish is a prolific creator who has tons of credits at Marvel and DC, and as noted in this book, "For many years, he has also been drawing his own death for his own amusement." And hey, I can get behind that. It's essentially an entire book dedicated to instilling schadenfreude.
Koblish has a nice and clean style that lends itself to this cartoonish comedic suffering. He's got a strong sense of flow and is exceptionally great with silent storytelling, especially with short four panel gags. He does play around though with some longer and shorter sequences, so the book avoids being too visually repetitive.
Some gags are honestly not too funny, or seem fairly obligatory as if Koblish just needed to get them out of his system. Alternatively there are some that hit just right, be it Koblish being mauled by a pack of starving mandrills for his sandwich or the monolith from 2001 toppling over and crushing him. There's also a nice through line of an orange cat pushing him out of windows or other high perches, and those are also oddly satisfying.
It's a silly little package, and your enjoyment may just depend on how much you care about actually knowing who Scott Koblish is or if you just like the randomness of this man dying again and again, page after page. The only downside to this book is that I find the $14.95 price tag to be a little high as it is a quick read at 94 pages. It is a nicely bound hardcover though, and it's a fun little package that works as a cute gift.
I wouldn't mind seeing this extend into a series chronicling more death though, especially since Koblish shared a lot of his rejected pieces on twitter. In one case I guess he didn't think depicting a nuclear holocaust was funny, and maybe it's just me, but I think that audience is out there, Scott.