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‘Cyanide and Happiness: Stab Factory’ – TPB Review

The webcomic, Cyanide & Happiness, is definitely not for all tastes. The description for this book mentions themes of murder, cannibalism, and incest, and that honestly only scratches the surface. No topic is taboo, bad taste is celebrated, and if you have any triggers, this comic will eventually hit them, without remorse. That said, it’s also very, very funny.

Stab Factory collects around 120 comics from the website, Explosm, which features the work of cartoonists Rob DenBleyker, Kris Wilson, and Dave McElfatrick. While the art in the comic is deliberately crude and seemingly primitive, each of them has their own distinctive artistic style, as well as their own distinctive brand of humor, which gives the comics quite a bit of variety. As a regular reader of the website, I’d seen just about all of them before, some multiple times. That doesn’t stop them from being funny, though, and I still laughed out loud several times, even at the punchlines I knew were coming.

However, while it’s true that the comics are still funny after multiple viewings, the question remains: Why would you pay for them when you can read them online? Fortunately, there are some bonuses for us regular readers. First, there are also 30 brand new strips that don’t appear online, many of which are also quite funny. Additionally, there’s a section of poems at the end, which read like perverted and inappropriate nursery rhymes. Combine that with a very funny introduction by comedian/singer Bo Burnham, and there’s plenty to enjoy in this book, even if you’ve read all the regular comics already.

Not all of the humor of Cyanide and Happiness is gross or inappropriate. Some of it is just silly fun, bizarre situations, and my personal favorite, terrible puns. The purpose of Cyanide and Happiness isn’t to try to offend as many people as possible, or to see how much they can get away with. Their purpose is to make their audience laugh and to do so without restrictions or taboos.

No, their comic is definitely not for everyone. No subject is off limits, so if jokes about religion, parental neglect, and bizarre sex acts don’t seem like your cup of tea, then you should probably stay away. But, if you don’t mind a bit of wildly inappropriate humor, done not to offend, but to entertain, then Cyanide & Happiness: Stab Factory is the book for you.

Steven W. Alloway, Fanbase Press Contributor



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