Some Comics By Stephen Collins is quite a bit more than its direct yet abstract name suggests. It captures the essence of the book, in that it is a collection of single page comic strips centered on Stephen Collins’ seemingly random musings. Yet, within the unstructured jumps between concepts, ideas and punch lines, common themes emerge about life in the modern world with observational humour throughout.
Much like All Of My Friends Are Dead, this is a tabletop, bathroom or bedside book that is best enjoyed in fleeting bursts. While you could certainly read it from start to finish, enjoying several chuckles along the way, by its nature as short, sharp strips of story, you can benefit from visiting Collins’ visualized mind space every now and again. It’s difficult to explain the comedy and cleverness of the book without explaining the comic strips themselves. Of course, to avoid ruining it, this review will only examine a couple of examples.
One of the first strips in the book is entitled ‘Our Day In The Country Is Once Again Ruined By A Crocodile’. Within three panels a tranquil picnic scene has been ruined by a crocodile showing up and sprawling itself across the blanket and food placed out for the people. This is the kind of sweet and simple strip that appears sporadically. Good for a little laugh.
Upping the intelligence level, and the real meat of the book, are comics such as ‘Apps: Spoiling things since 2008’. In this comic a couple are lying on a grassy hill looking up at the sky as a plane flies past. One of the pair wonders aloud, where is the airplane going? To what land could it be taking its excited passengers? The second points his phone at the passing plane, naming it and its mundane destination with an app.
In this is the wonderful truth that we don’t let our imaginations and thoughts just be any more. Instead we insist on using technology to answer mysteries and never go on without knowing; a true shame of the modern technological world.
‘Sensible Super Car’ is a hilarious comic which considers what it would be like if the sentient, intelligent talking cars, like Knight Rider, were more considerate and didn’t just blindly follow their drivers. The sensible super car wants to obey the speed limit, let justice take its course and be in bed at a reasonable hour. The comic is both a jostling finger-wag at how ridiculous some TV shows and movies are, and a reminder of how wonderful it is to be ridiculous.
Finally, ‘MeeBook’ is a potentially prophetic strip that’s once again on the subject of modern technology. A man is seen reading a book, not unlike a Kindle or tablet, and he reads the opening of chapter one of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as it was written. He then furrows his brow and swipes into a settings window, upping the ‘Romance’ and ‘Sex’ options and leaving ‘Country Walks’ at the same level. The result is the rewritten opening line:
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good sex dungeon must be in want of a spanking’
It’s funny to consider the idea of someone changing a book in this way, and interesting that this could soon be a possibility. There are already ratings for movies and alternative edits to make them more PG or X-rated as and when they are wanted. It seems wholly normal for someone in this day and age to have this kind of control over what they read. Who knows, it might be the next app.