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‘Dork:’ Hardcover Review

Some words get tossed around like a filet mignon into a catcher’s mitt. Fancy words, used to enhance text and take it to another level of sophistication. Words like “unequivocally,” “erudite,” “profundity,” and “dork.” Do these words have anything in common? Do they raise the level of supposed intellect on the part of your writer? Nay! They are merely big words for small people. Normal-sized words will do just fine.

Let’s do this backwards. “Dork” – noun; a dull, slow-witted, or socially inept person. Does that surmise Evan Dorkin to a tee? Sure, but the others make me sound less mean. “Profundity:” noun – deep insight; great depth of knowledge or thought. Does Dorkin have a key insight into what was going through the heads of his readers and not give a damn? Probably. “Erudite:” adjective – having or showing great knowledge or learning. Learning no, knowledge yes. The guy knows his stuff. He writes for himself and the people who get him and those people are better than you. “Unequivocally:” adverb – in a way that leaves no doubt. Hands down, the creme of the crop. Does that demand one more big word to impress the other kids?! You bet your sweet bippy it does! One word I really love (Sadly it’s been co-opted by hipsters.), that magical German word that is surpassed only by “schadenfreude” (Sing along if you know the words!), that spirit of the times… Zeitgeist! That floozy Time Ghost gets used way too much by those that pretend to be in the know, but sometimes (SOME times, hipsters.), it is used to describe a moment. A feeling. A sense of connection that is shared with everyone in that time and place. The Buster of that Time Ghost who used his artistic Proton Pack and wrangled those emotions and memories into a containment unit called “pen and paper,” ladies and gentlemen… DORK!

Collecting years of hard work, drudgery, self-loathing, self-pleasure and a slew more “selfs,” Dork weaves the fascinating story of the ’90s and 2000s and how it relates to the human condition. At least the human who wrote it. Dorkin, who for years has worked in the comic and animation industries, collects waves of nostalgia and slaps you in the face with them. Hey, if you’ve read Milk and Cheese (also by E.D.), you know what getting slapped in the face is all about. Does that sound good to everyone? I’d say no. Does it sound good to me? Hell to the yes! If you were young and impressionable in the ’90s, into “zines,” preferred Of Montreal over Oasis, didn’t care that Mac and Me sucked, then you may know what is to be in a page of Dorkin’s machinations. Speaking of which…

When I hear the name Evan Dorkin, I automatically think of two things. 1. Creator of the dynamic dairy duo that are “MILK AND CHEESE!” (Alterna graphic novel reading elitists squee with delight for that one.) 2. That restraining order needs re-upped. That’s just two things. There are a few others I can think of, but there may be children reading, and they are young and impressionable, as I once was. M&C was the Joe Camel of indie comics, roping young’uns in with their cartoonish looks and devil may care attitudes, but once you got into Dork, you found a new batch of friends to play with. Devil Puppet, Disco Skinhead, The Murder Family, Myron the Living Voodoo Doll, and the rest of the gang take that fancy, schmancy “zeitgeist” and hit you right over the head with it. Repeatedly.

Let us not forget out titular “Dork,” Evan. Throughout, he appears, a page here, a zinger there, but free from (abandoned by?) his characters, leaving it up to himself to say what needs to be said. Said about the times, the industry, the music, the movies, the things that were affecting us all while it was taking place, he just had the foresight to write it down. Commenting on social media these days is one thing (Everyone gets an opinion! Yay!), but having it printed and someone handing you money for it is another. Dorkin’s book takes on the battles others don’t prefer to engage in. Are politics important? Meh. But are the words of a dry and macabre funny book commenting on the fashion, music, crappy cats and homicidal kids of the day more important? Yes. Making fun of politics will always be there. Making a joke about Russell Simmons’ Deaf Comedy Jam (Yes, I spelled it like that on purpose.), needs to be done at the right time, at the right place, for the right people. Are you the right people? You can be! I believe in you! Read Dork, you lucky bastards! If you’ve ever wanted to hate on something or make a joke that some may consider offensive, rude, non-PC, what have you, but didn’t have the nerve to do it, don’t worry! Dork is here to help!

Give it a read.  You can thank me later…

J.C. Ciesielski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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