Blessed Be

Fantagraphics Feb. 2024. 152p. ISBN 9781683967781. $24.99. F
Celebrated cartoonist Altergott combines absurdist humor and noir in his first full-length graphic novel, which is based on Doofus, his long-running series of comic strips and comic books. Doofus Anderssen is excited to sponsor his lanky, dimwitted pal Henry Hotchkiss for membership in the Forty Acres Club, an exclusive association of men that has just one rule—members must remain completely celibate. Unfortunately, Henry ends up losing his virginity at a raucous party within hours of being presented as a potential club member; unable to face his pal Doofus, he decides he’ll spend the rest of his life hiding out in a broken-down van in the forest. Unbeknownst to Henry, his new home is adjacent to the site where a recently paroled criminal named Tommy Cottonwood is planning to hold a demonic ritual that he believes will imbue him with great and terrible power. When Tommy’s increasingly unhinged antics inadvertently cause a young man named Scotty to vanish, his girlfriend Astrid embarks upon a quest to save him, which sends her bouncing between all of the aforementioned oddballs, as well as a slew of other colorful characters.
VERDICT A razor-sharp satire of conservative values, bohemian ideals, outlaw culture, capitalism, and more, from a creator evincing a powerful, if idiosyncratic, vision of modern American life.
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