A Perfect Failure: Fante Bukowski Three

Fantagraphics. Oct. 2018. 188p. ISBN 9781683961314. pap. $16.99. F
OrangeReviewStarThe third and concluding volume in Van Sciver's (Johnny Appleseed) brilliant parody of literary male entitlement finds protagonist Fante Bukowski attempting to make a name for himself as a writer in Columbus, OH. A lack of talent and support from his peers is no obstacle for the alternately pretentious and self-loathing Bukowski, but when his father's failing health threatens to curtail his ability to finance his son's quest for success, Bukowski is unable to avoid the reality that it may well be time to abandon his dreams and get a straight job. Luckily, he's presented with the opportunity to ghost write the autobiography of a Disney teen star…but can he bring himself to sell out? Past volumes in this series have established Bukowski as a poser for the ages, with a hilarious lack of self-awareness. Here, Van Sciver adds a fascinating new layer, as flashbacks to Bukowski's early years and upbringing actually manage to add a layer of poignancy to what is otherwise an exceptional, and at times savage, satire.
VERDICT A great conclusion to a wonderful series that works fairly well as a stand-alone volume, although the entire series is well worth seeking out.

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