If my kindergarten teacher had promised me that I could tap into the dark arts and summon lemons from the pits of Hell thanks to learning and practicing cursive, I would have taken my cursive lessons a bit more seriously. In the end, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference, for my normal handwriting is still atrocious. That, and I still hate cursive. Moving on, Jim Benton is a madman. His comics are a brilliant breath of fresh air in a webcomics smoking lounge, but he’s still a madman nonetheless. The geniuses always are, unfortunately. After his highly successful Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats., Benton is back and better than ever with his latest collection, Man, I Hate Cursive: Cartoons for People and Advanced Bears from Andrews McMeel Publishing. The cover alone hits you in the comedy jugular, and without even opening the book you can tell it’s your new favorite comic collection of 2016.
Benton’s latest book collects his best comics of the past year, and more. Those who follow his page on Facebook or upvote his submissions on Reddit will be familiar with a majority of the comics, but they’re like Chinese leftovers; always enjoyable again when reheated. While certain themes appear briefly throughout, such as the life of an artist, God, and advanced bears (like the title suggests), the types of jokes range from classic pop culture staples to some light philosophy, and everything in between. It’s a collection that would make Gary Larson proud. Sight-gags and one-panel punchlines are aplenty, making the book enjoyable for all ages. I found myself relating to several comics, making me question my life at times.
One thing that always impresses me about Benton is his ability to illustrate his comics in several different styles. No matter if it’s a little disheveled or a bit more classic comic-strippy, his signature style is instantly recognizable. Even if they’re in black and white, the shading he uses adds that extra ‘umph’ to the overall comic experience. It’s the little things like that which cause the reader to linger a bit longer, laugh a little harder, and reread the comic over and over again. I reread the collection several times before writing this review, and I always found something different to laugh at.
Whether you’re 7-years-old or 77, Man, I Hate Cursive is definitely a book for everybody, no matter what your flavor of humor is. Cheetos-addicts? There’s something for you. Stay-at-home Genies? Yup, you too. Cat owner who feels like their cat is trying to murder them? Oh yeah, Benton has you covered. Do yourself a favor and pre-order this book immediately, and write Benton a ‘Thank You’ letter after you’re done rolling on the floor laughing your tukhus off. Just don’t write it in cursive, unless you’re looking to make lemonade.
Available October 18th, 2016