Squeak the Mouse

Fantagraphics. Dec. 2021. 152p. ISBN 9781683964858. $24.95. GRAPHIC NOVELS
This re-released Italian underground classic of the 1980s opens with a cat scrambling to capture the titular mouse, who defends himself with a barrage of tricks and traps that leave the cat battered, bonked, and scorched. Anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Tom and Jerry will find the sequence familiar—making what happens next even more shocking: the cat catches Squeak, brutally murders him, and leaves his mangled carcass in the street. To celebrate, the cat attends a wild party. As the night goes on, guests begin to slink away for intimate encounters; a classic slasher-film set-up, soon followed by classic slasher-film imagery, as the partygoers are impaled, decapitated, or disemboweled by a killer who’s soon revealed to be Squeak, back from the dead and looking for revenge. From there, the carnage only escalates as Squeak and the cat repeatedly turn the tables on one another in a blood feud that grows to include zombie hordes, a molten monster wreaking havoc at a sexually explicit pool party, rampaging skeletons, and brutal creatures from outer space.
VERDICT Mattioli (Joe Galaxy) pushes the raging libidinousness and exaggerated violence found in many classic cartoons to berserk extremes in this thoroughly demented, wildly entertaining dark comedy.
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