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Book Review < Back

The Annotated Mantooth!

Credits: Written by Matt Fraction and Illustrated by Andy Kuhn and Timmy Fisher
Publisher: AiT/Planet Lar


When comic collections began experiencing a wide acceptance by readers and publishers, adding "DVD-style" extras became a trend designed to add value to these collections beyond their core content. Books would be "re-mastered," a euphemism for everything from "tightened up" to "entirely rewritten," and then, at last, the collected volume could stand for time eternal as the creator's truest, purest vision preserved for the ages.

And so, the joke that forms the spine of this collection (its actual comics content culled from three teeny, tiny, thirteen-page shorts) is that a comic doing a Bond pastiche starring a profane gorilla would not, should not, and quite simply cannot deserve any sort of special treatment. The joke is that, you know, this stuff is too fucking goofy to be taken seriously; and that any treatment of the material that reaches beyond its most surface of values -- because there's not much here beyond surface -- is like the irony attendant in a Michael Bay movie released under the Criterion banner or the director's commentary on Bring It On.

THE ANNOTATED MANTOOTH! is precisely that: a giant piss-take on the entire trend, and one in which the extras outnumber the actual content pages 2 to 1. Facing each comics page is the original script page, as well as a running commentary that, when it's not imagining a world where THE ANNOTATED MANTOOTH! is at the heart of an ubiquitous, Disney-type empire and its creators fabulously wealthy and famous, comments on the "creative process" that got the work on to the page. A book so enthralled with its own importance that it features an introduction, foreword, preface, AND publisher's note, THE ANNOTATED MANTOOTH! rides its joke to death, never missing an opportunity to refer to its own cleverness. The whole affair is a little too meta- for its own good, perhaps, but--

Oh, wait.

-- Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.


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