"Cartoons for people and advanced bears"
Jim Benton is one of those people you don’t think you’ve heard of, but then you discover their stuff and realise you’ve been reblogging it on Tumblr for years. He’s a brilliant cartoonist, and we previously featured his excellently-titled book ‘Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats’ in our roundup of books for Internet People.
His latest book also has a superb title, “Man, I hate cursive,” which refers to the first cartoon in the book – and my personal favourite. Can’t beat a good lemon joke. It’s also on the cover, so I’m guessing it’s Benton’s favourite too.
As with Dog Butts (not a sentence I expected to write today), there’s a good mix of topics along some broad themes, including the meaning of modern life:
People who are not very bright:
Some poignant and surprisingly touching ones, both happy and sad:
And some pointed digs at religion:
There’s also a good measure of cynical commentary on tech, the best bit of which is probably a written apology to Apple clarifying that the Apple Watch is “by no means your Waterloo.”
There are no duds whatsoever in this collection, every cartoon made us laugh – some for ages. We quickly became that annoying person who keeps calling everyone over to look at something when they’re trying to work. “Look at this one though!” “OK, seriously, this is the best one.” “LOOK IT’S YOU IN BEAR FORM” and so on. We have no friends left, but nor do half the people in the cartoons, which made us feel better.
If you like internet humour, you’ll love this book. In fact, if you’re a Reddit or 4chan fan, you might have seen Benton’s recent viral cartoon ‘I wish I could talk to ponies’ which turned into a meme:
People remixed the comic, adding their own last panel(s) – some of which are pretty offensive, before you go Googling at work. Our favourite non-horrible one:
This one’s probably the most famous:
But the majority, for some reason, are about 9/11 conspiracy theories. Who knew Truthers came in pony form too?
The book, which thankfully contains no mention of steel beams, has really wide appeal – it manages to be simultaneously sweet and savage, sharp and silly. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have tweeted one of the cartoons within ten seconds of opening the book – with a link to Jim Benton, obviously, because you’re a nice human being – and you’ll recognise yourself and all the worst people you’ve ever met in the characters.
It’s quite sweary, with topics including the controversial (God, ebola, God giving people ebola) and the satisfyingly immature (farts). So probably not one to buy your aunt, but if you’re a Book of Mormon sort of person, this is perfect.
‘Man, I hate cursive’ comes out in the UK on the 18th of October on Kindle, and the 17th of November in paperback. It’s available for preorder now, and according to the description, makes a great gift for “people and advanced bears.” That’s Paddington’s Christmas pressie sorted, then.
All images courtesy of Jim Benton, who you should follow because he’s great.