Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Bucko by Jeff Parker and Erika Moen

I could have sworn that I read this book before. But most of the events in it were completely new. So either there's some other book inexplicably really close to the premise of Bucko (which would be really unlikely), or I read just the first few pages some time long ago, or I'm hallucinating again.

In any case: Bucko. Originally a webcomic, then turned into print. Written by Jeff Parker, drawn by Erika Moen. Longer and denser than it looks, with commentary by the creators on the bottom of most pages and about twenty pages of extra stuff at the end.

It's the story of a threesome.

Well, a failed threesome. It opens with our title character -- his name is Rich, but he gets saddled with "Bucko" here, and it sticks -- waking up on a couch in the apartment of Gyp, the girl he met the night before. Her quickly learns they all got too drunk -- him, Gyp, and Gyp's mostly-lesbian roommate Dell -- for the three-way Gyp had hinted at the night before. But Bucko has no time for romance: he's already late for a job interview, so he rushes out...and walks into a dead body at the office where he interviews.

That's all in the first five pages of a 120-page story; I'm not going to get into that much detail for the rest of it, or we'd be here all day. Suffice it to say that Bucko is a very plotty book, full of colorful characters and weird situations and bizarre moments and quirky dialogue. Did I forget to mention that this is all set in Portland (Oregon), where the hipsters and goofballs roam free? Well, take that as read now.

Bucko is arrested for the murder, but doesn't stay in jail long. But finding the real murderer -- and, much more importantly, getting a job and achieving that three-way -- will take much longer (four long acts worth), and involve:
  • a Pixies cover band that performs on bicycles
  • the Queen of the Suicide Girls
  • a Maker's Fair
  • another dead body in a bathroom, found by you-know-who
  • Gyp's roommate Dell doing strip karaoke
  • a fight with Juggalettes, who in best comic-book fashion then team up with our heroes
  • a sinister bike-theft ring
  • weaponized farts
  • a wiki devoted to the search for the missing Bucko
  • a hobo jungle constructed entirely of books
Bucko is a goofy book -- Parker admits that he wrote it one page at a time, to see how Moen would adapt each idea, and then wrote the next page based on what she did. So this is a loose, shaggy story, that wanders around Portland over the course of a few weeks and brings in every cliche or actual element of Portland that either of them could think of over the course of the year that they made this comic. You do need to have a relatively high tolerance for goofiness and hipsters to enjoy it. But who doesn't like seeing jokes about hipsters?

Bucko provides a rollicking good time, and promises that failed threesome -- expanded into a foursome, since everything in Bucko is bigger and odder than you expect -- will take place just a few minutes after the last page. What more could you want?

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