Crud

Comic, issue 2, Vicki Nerino, vickinerino.com 

I might be going out on a limb with this,  but I’m hard pressed to think of any  other present day cartoonist who does  the grotesque as amazingly as Toronto’s  Vicki Nerino.  I was first introduced to her work via  2010’s hilarious sex romp Ted Bear in Bare  Season which combined Spumco-style  funny animals with a teen sex comedy.  With  Crud #2  Nerino’s work sinks to  even more disturbing depths — and  literally into the sewers — through the  dialogue-free tale of the “Master Baiter.”  We’re introduced to our nearsighted  hunchbacked hero as he wakes up in  the company of what looks like a dog/rat hybrid in a quaint little subterranean  apartment. After getting ready the  companions head out to go “fishing”  which basically means they’re luring for  all sorts of critters through a sewer grate. I  won’t spoil the ending, but it’s equal parts  horrific and heartwarming. This is a tale  of a boy and his dog after all, and those  stories always give me a lump in my throat.  Wordless stories can often be hard  to pull of, but Nerino does so with  panache. Reminiscent in parts of vintage  Ted McKeever (circa  Eddy Current), her  characters and panels are simple in their  design but also contain complex, tiny  details and delicate yet scratchy ink lines.  The gratuity of a close up of the lead  character’s cock and balls as they squeeze  into a pair of ill-fitting briefs is a standout  sequence that is both hilarious and caused  me to wince. Crud is a great example of  comics that are completely juvenile and  fun but can, and should, be taken seriously  as actual art. (Matthew Daley)

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