Tales from the Timestream! – Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010
As I’ve mentioned on precisely one occasion before, I am a time traveler.
And as such, I’ve brought with me to this era a wealth of information from my own time. All the same, with each passing day I learn something new about this era. In this new segment, I shall share with you my initial reactions to the media of your day. One thing I should mention, though, is that “your day” is a much wider concept in your time. My cohorts in evil have informed me that a review of the 1977 film Star Wars would be superfluous in the world of 2013, so I’ll try and refrain from anything too well-covered, but I will likely touch upon some items that are not exactly topical.
For instance, today I’ll be reviewing a book that came out in the year 2011 ! The second volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography, as told to Michael Kupperman!
Mr. Kupperman is perhaps best known for his comedy anthology comic Tales Designed to Thrizzle. While I remember seeing that title in the solicits when it first showed up. It was sort of hard to miss, in fact. But I regrettably never even glanced at a copy of the book upon its initial release, if I’d even seen the cover I’d have surely picked it up. No, my first exposure to Michael Kupperman was a page in 2009’s Strange Tales, a Marvel book showcasing some of the era’s best and brightest independent talent. I picked these books up because some of my then favorite funnybook artists were doing a page or two; It had a few strips by Nicholas Gurewitch and Max Cannon, and those names were enough to get me on board for the series. There were actually a lot of fun stories featured in that three issue mini, but there was one that made me laugh out loud for reasons I didn’t fully understand.
The second panel of that first page had me in hysterics for a solid minute when I first saw it. I recommended the book to a dozen people based on this strip alone. Still, though… why the hell was it so funny? It’s the kind of absurdity that can’t be explained.
Nevertheless, I was hooked. I started hunting down whatever I could find, starting with Tales Designed to Thrizzle. Then Marvel published another great Kupperman story in their All Select Comics 70th Anniversary special. It features Marvex, a lesser-known Golden Age property with an interesting gimmick. It’s definitely worth a look.
Somehow, the release of Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 still surprised me. i only knew of its existence about a week before it arrived in stores, but the night it came out I brought it home and devoured the entire thing in one sitting. I was laughing out loud the whole way through. There was no one else around, and I was still embarrassed at how wildly the book was making me laugh.
However, it occurs to me that this style of humor is not for everyone. Since I, as a huge fan of Kupperman’s work, cannot satisfactorily explain the style of comedy, it’s no surprise that it’s not accessible to someone who picks up the book on a whim. It’s a delicate balance of an almost Adult Swim level of absurd off the wall humor mixed with the legitimately clever wit of the Simpsons in its glory days.
The premise of the hardcover is that Mark Twain, having faked his own death, contacted cartoonist Michael Kupperman and gave him a manuscript detailing Twain’s exploits in the hundred years following his supposed demise. For an idea of the contents contained therein, imagine Forrest Gump meets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Twain has a hand in nearly every historically significant event in the 20th century and meets countless notable people, real and fictitious alike.
As previously showcased in Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Twain regularly partnered with Albert Einstein for a wide array of ventures. Twain also starred in a number of adult films, was aboard Apollo 11, and was in a rock band with the Universal Studios monsters.
Please read this book.
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