Thursday, October 20, 2016

Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam by Simon Hanselmann

Well, um, that was a thing, wasn't it?

I believe Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam is the second book by Simon Hanselmann about his series characters Megg, Mogg, Owl and Werewolf Jones, after Megahex. Megg is a witch -- green skin, long nose, black pointy hat, the whole package. [1] Mogg is her cat/boyfriend. They're both layabouts, stoners, and general losers with no apparent source of support. Owl is their third roommate, and the requisite functional adult of the group: he's a wet blanket, a whiner, and more than slightly annoying, but he actually holds down a job and presumably provides all of the income for this crappy little household. So he takes substantially fewer drugs than Megg or Mogg...which isn't to say he doesn't take any.

Oh, and Werewolf Jones is their dealer, who uses his own product far too much if his temper and mood swings are any indication. Jones also is the sometimes caretaker for his two feral tween sons, who are barely sapient at best. He sometimes seems to be supposed to be wild and wacky and a crazy guy, but more often he just seems psychotic and cruising for some very heavy object to be lovingly placed upside his head. There are some minor characters, too, but they tend not to talk much -- and the main four talk incessantly.

All of these are unpleasant people who do dull things in annoying ways and are both deeply horrible and deeply boring. Hanselmann's art, also, is on the dull side: he mostly uses a simple, almost animation-derived line, and his layouts are relentless grids, varying only in the number of identical boxes on each particular page. He generally puts a lot of small panels full of tedium on every page, so it takes a while to read all of the dull words these dull unpleasant people fling at each other.

You may guess that I did not exactly enjoy this book. You would be correct.

I don't mind comics about stoners -- I really loved Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest books, and wish there was another one of them right now. But I do need those stoners to interact with the outside world at least somewhat, and not sit and stew in their own drug-fueled misery. Even for stoners, Megg and Mogg are whiny dull losers, and that's saying something. If they did anything interesting, they'd be fine. If their non-adventures had snappy dialogue, they'd be OK. If the pages were attractively designed and pleasing to look at, they'd be all right.

But it's not all right. It's not even close to all right.

[1] She doesn't seem to do anything witchy, but then she doesn't do much of anything of any kind. That's kind of the point of these stories.

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