Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Review: The Book of Biff 5: Split Personality by Chris Hallbeck
Rating: 4 out of 5
Well, here I am today taking a break from completely over- analyzing books in order to bring you a review of this oddity sent to me by author and illustrator Chris Hallbeck. Heck, I'm even going to eschew my normal rating system because, well, it doesn't work for this sort of product.
The Book of Biff 5: Split Personality is a compilation of one-panel comics with a complimentary line of text in the spirit of Gary Larson's The Far Side. Each panel stars Biff, the main character, who either has really long eyebrows or is some sort of human/alien/cockroach hybrid. The scenes paints different pictures of the things Biff does each day - everything from sleeping beside a giant air horn to his troubles landing a rocket ship.
The comics themselves are very well drawn, and are quite simple in design. But they work for what they're meant to do - entertain, humor, and every one in a while make you cringe.
There are 142 of these panels. Not every one of them worked for me, but that's to be expected. I don't think there's ever been a comic strip drawn that has captured every reader every time. What I might find "eh" someone else might think is brilliant. However, I did find a good 80% of them to be on the mark (and do what comic strips are best at, which is reflect society in a satirical way)
The only real problem I have with this, however, is the format. I was sent (and hence read) this collection on my Kindle. It seems like a strange choice. Out of curiosity, I downloaded the sample to my laptop, and sure enough, the illustrations are all originally in color. They are much sharper and tell a better story that way.
In fact, I feel this would be much better suited as a coffee table or bathroom (paper) book. Perhaps I'm simply pining for outdated conventions here, but it did seem a tad weird to me.
I can't hold that against the work, however, because it is good, and it is funny. Just a gripe on my own part.
It's still worth the money.
Buy the Kindle version now.