The Argyle Sweater: A Cartoon Collection
by Scott Hilburn
Andrews McMeel Publishers
Reader Appeal: Junior High to Adult
Genre: Humor / Cartoons
A quick glance at The Argyle Sweater reveals two things right away:
1) This book is clearly a rip-off of the unpredictable humor and style of Gary Larson's classic series, The Far Side--right down to the frumpy, one-panel illustration style and frequent use of animals in human behavior.
2) This book is a very good rip-off of The Far Side--complete with guffaw-inducing panel jokes, clever situations, and out-of-the-box satire that makes you want to clip a cartoon and tack it to the refrigerator or in your cubicle at work.
And hey, since Gary Larson abandoned us years ago, why not let Scott Hilburn fill his shoes?
So, to all the fans in your family still reading the old, tattered copies of The Far Side in the bathroom: it's time to let go of the old and embrace the new-old fun of The Argyle Sweater!
Presented in full color cartoons throughout, Scott Hilburn's absurdist sense of humor and dry, witty observations combine for a winning experience right off the bat in this book. The moral dilemma of the "Canine Firefighter" early on was enough to get me hooked. That was quickly followed by an unexpected laugh-out-loud moment when I read the Larson-esque "Hiney Bees" panel, and I knew I was done for...and I was only on page 12. The rest of this debut offering lived up to its promise, making The Argyle Sweater a new friend and fan out of me. Other highlights for me in this collection of single-panel cartoons are "Pandora's Litterbox," "Dogs Got Mugged," "Ducks in a Stack" and "Gary Coleman's To-Do List."
As for characters, like Larson's work The Argyle Sweater casts heavily from the animal kingdom, with cats, dogs, bears, bees, wolves, zebras, and even a mad scientist or two. Mix in painfully funny, very human situations and the odd fairy tale character or two, and you've got a formula that seems poised to make us laugh for many years to come. Some mild scatological humor may be off-putting to more conservative readers, but most families will find these cartoons funny for ages from junior high to adult.
To read samples of The Argyle Sweater online, visit: TheArgyleSweater.com
Note: All book or comics-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.