What We Mean by Yesterday: Vol. 1

Fantagraphics. Aug. 2024. 380p. ISBN 9781683969730. pap. $24.99. F
Outwardly, middle-aged high school teacher Bruce Barnes appears to be an easygoing guy, totally content with his life so long as he gets to end each day sipping an ice-cold beer while listening to his favorite classic rock radio station. In reality, he’s a contemptuous cauldron of impotent rage consumed by fantasies of avenging himself against those who fail to show him the respect he believes he deserves. One day in the teacher’s lounge, a colleague tricks Bruce into ingesting a dose of amphetamines, unleashing the “rage snake” within and kickstarting a series of madcap misadventures that find him careening out of control through a long night—clashing against an off-duty cop, wreaking havoc in a convenience store, engaging in a vicious brawl against musclebound thugs, and being caught in the middle of a wealthy couple’s psychosexual mind games. This volume collects work that originally appeared on author and illustrator Marra’s (Disciples) Instagram account, which routinely draws more than 20,000 readers a day.
VERDICT Marra employs a loose, somewhat sketchy cartooning style that’s perfectly matched to his fast-paced, seemingly intuitive plotting. An occasionally shocking, sometimes nightmarish, completely unpredictable satire of modern masculinity.
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