blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Eltingville Club (2014) #1

The Eltingville Club  1

Evan Dorkin’s sense of humor on The Eltingville Club is nowhere near as peculiar as his plotting on the comic. There’s some peculiarities to it since Dorkin mocks every single character to some degree or another and his protagonist is one of the more reprehensible characters in there comic.

The constant comedic assault both kills the momentum and gives the book a significant reading time. Since Dorkin’s mocking his characters once every couple panels, and he’s got the situational comedy and sight gags, the issue is always on. If you don’t like one joke, there’s another one in just a moment.

Until the ending. Dorkin goes a somewhat unexpected route, turning a workplace situational into gently absurdist. It reminds a little of “The Simpsons”, just for how the cause and effect work. I guess it’s hard to plot for unlikable characters.

Still, Dorkin builds anticipation for the next one.

One response to “The Eltingville Club (2014) #1”

  1. Matthew Hurwitz

    Finally got around to reading this and wow, it was exactly as good as I’d hoped for from Dorkin’s latest Eltingville story in – holy crap – almost ten years. The unfortunate shocker is that it’s apparently part one of a two-part FINAL ELTINGVILLE STORY, not a new series. To that end, it’s an affectionate sendoff (lots of in-jokes to previous stories, like those rumors about Big Sal) and a logical premise for what it would take to finally dissolve the club. The arcane geek reference insults are laugh out loud hilarious…”Dumber than a box set of Lucio Fulci DVDs and twice as nauseating” is my favorite. Dorkin’s insider-contempt for the fanboy industrial complex has aged like a fine wine, to the point of some startling subtlety – most auspiciously, Bill being stuck wearing an oversized, unsold Warren Beatty “Dick Tracy” shirt for almost the entire issue.

    I’m not sure if The Eltingville Club needs to be concluded at this point, or if fanboys need to be bashed more than ever – the mainstreaming of nerd crap has altered the context that the characters existed in even moreso than Daniel Clowes’ Dan Pussey stories. Josh, Jerry, Pete and Bill were only ever fanboys, and it’s a much fanboy-friendlier world today than it was in 1993, when the first Eltingville story debuted. The modern points of mockery in this issue, particularly the “geek girl” sequence and the guy who gets abused for a full page when asking about the new issue of “King City” have the air of epitaph about them. Dorkin seems to be illustrating why he thinks comic book stores are dying; they’re the last holdouts of old school geekdom, but also their worst aspects – the misogyny, materialism, myopia and ethnocentrism. I can’t really believe there’s any comics stores out there that refuse to sell manga, but you never know.

    If Eltingville continued as a series today, it’d probably consist entirely of the guys on their computers. They might not even go to see the latest superhero movies together with bittorrents available. In that sense maybe it is the right time to put the cap on them. But I love, love, loved these characters, in all their embodiment of everything foul about comics, science-fiction, horror, fantasy and role-playing fans, never cheap caricatures but fully empathized archetypes, even in all their awfulness. Glad to see Dark Horse has a complete-collection hardcover coming out later this year, and I’m eagerly awaiting the concluding issue with some bittersweet anticipation. We’ll see if it’s as poignant a denouement as the second-to-last Eltingville story, “The Intervention,” which also could’ve served perfectly as the final chapter, really.

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