3 out of 4 stars
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Chip! is a comic book by author/illustrator Jens Pindal. This collection of humorous comic strips presents the interactions between Chip and his imaginary friend, Zort. Most of the comic strips are three or four panels long. Each one ends with a sarcastic punch line or image.
Humor is a very subjective thing. I enjoyed most of the short, silly, and highly visual jokes in these comic strips. For example, Chip and Zort discuss the difference between being in a rut and being in a groove on page 12. Zort decides that ruts are bad and grooves are good. “What am I in?” Chip asks. Zort responds, “you’re in a cheap comic strip.” This joke encapsulates the general style of the sarcastic humor in this comic book (though I can’t recreate the funny illustrations for you). The illustrator does an excellent job conveying emotion through the character’s expressions and movements. I enjoyed the neon color palate. I also liked Chip’s expressive face; his facial expressions reminded me of Dennis the Menace (who also sported freckles and childish enthusiasm). I also liked the instances when Chip breaks the border of a panel as the punchline of a joke.
My only real concern while reading this amusing comic book is that I am not sure what audience it is appropriate for. Adult readers may find it entertaining; however, Chip is a young character. This leads me to believe that the author meant this comic strip for a younger audience. I think middle-school readers would enjoy much of the humor. Unfortunately, the use of profanity, jokes about alcohol and smoking, and the presence of sexual images make the content of some of the comics inappropriate for young readers. The author also includes one comic strip that makes an off-color joke about Adolf Hitler that I found mildly offensive. However, I do realize that comedy is often funny because it balances precariously on the wire-thin border between being witty and being offensive.
I would recommend Chip! to readers who enjoy the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. The style of humor is not exactly the same; however, the idea of a boy trying to understand the world with the help of an imaginary friend will resonate with readers who grew up with the world’s favorite imaginary tiger. Sensitive readers may be offended by the mild sexual references and use of profanity in this comic book.
The illustrations in this collection of comic strips are vivid and engaging. I enjoyed most of the humor. However, I question what audience this material is best suited to. I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars.
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