Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Muppets Meet The Sopranos

The world of comics isn’t all muscle-bound heroes in capes, samurai-sword-wielding Asian adolescents with hyperthyroid eyeballs, and toilet-tongued teenagers spouting fart jokes. Division 18: Union of Novelty Costumed Performers is something very, very different—a super-cynical, tartly-written and tautly-drawn graphic work (novel? compendium? album?) that defies both convention and classification, providing thought-provoking entertainment and more than a few belly laughs along the way.

What’s it about? It’s the Sopranos version of The Muppets Take Manhattan. Imagine what would happen if Tony and his goombahs hijacked trucks and shook down deli owners while dressed like something you might see parading through Greenwich Village on Halloween. The concept came from Matt Bergin and my son, Jeremy Donelson, two thirty-somethings with respectable day jobs and cracked creative imaginations perfectly suited for creating comics.

In Division 18, the characters are criminals who hide their nefarious undertakings behind day jobs as novelty costumed entertainers, the psuedo drag queens, Elvis impersonators, and six-foot frankfurters you might hire for a demented six-year-old’s birthday party or the grand opening of a Laundromat in the Twilight Zone. In the comic, these guys have an imaginary union, complete with a crooked boss of course, that allows the creators to mix them together in unlikely union meetings and send them on bizarre assignments. There’s sort of a satire of a satire in every panel.

Advance reviews are good and there’s a wealth of preview material online. The 96-page trade paperback ($9.99) will be published by Silent Devil Productions. You can pre-order now (July Previews catalog, page 326, order code: JUL08-4207) at your favorite comic store for the fall release.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

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