There’s no doubt that Tony Millionaire’s Maakies preserves a style and sensibility somewhat absent from modern comics.
Green Eggs and Maakies contains Millionaire’s weekly comic strips in his signature lewd style and tone. Outrageously vulgar with a few glimmers of comedy, the collected strips in Green Eggs and Maakies certainly represent a crudeness uncommon in today’s independent comic book world, but the novelty (or rather nostalgia, since Maakies’ shocking indiscreetness is not too far off from that style that Robert Crumb made his signature) wears off pretty quickly, making the collection somewhat painful and unexciting to complete.
Drinky Crow, the trademark character of Maakies, makes plenty of appearances and says more than a lion’s share of upsetting and insolent things in the company of Millionare’s motley crew of foul-mouthed and foul-intentioned characters. All of the characters deliver some humor every now and then, but after a while, all of their actions and dialog feel overburdened and simply shocking and revolting for really no reason; the series feels like vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity. Consequently, after the 5th reincarnation and reintroduction of fecal matter and genitalia into the comics, the shock value of Maakies significantly declines, leaving some visually interesting (though in no way pioneering) cartoon drawings of birds, humans, monkeys, and alligators to remain, and that’s just too little to offer to keep me engaged in reading more of the series.
Additionally, Green Eggs and Maakies carries a misanthropic, excessive ugliness that makes reading the collection exhausting. Drinky Crow and his friends capture the worst wretchedness of mankind, and their horridness toward each other and others leads to little comedy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to have horrible, unredeeming characters. It’s okay to be cynical of mankind. Some of my favorite graphic novels come from skeptical authors parodying society and humanity (see Harvey Kurtzman’s The Jungle Book, one of my all-time favorites). But unlike Kurtzman or Crumb, Millionare does little to build the characters or even their per-strip scenarios in the series, and consequently, Maakies comes off as an unchecked, unexplained ball of disgust and hatred expelled during an extended temper tantrum.
I honestly don’t really know what else to say about Green Eggs and Maakies. Sure, there’s an impressive commitment to filling each comic strip with a lot of content; there are two stories/moments drawn for every strip, but beyond that, I cannot say any other complimentary things about the collection. Admittedly, I struggled to get past the first quarter of the collection; I got distracted by laundry machines, Family Feud, and naan bread, which all seemed to better capture my attention as I tried to read Green Eggs and Maakies to compete this review.
Perhaps my own taste, nature, and disposition lead to such a rapid rejection of Green Eggs and Maakies, but I just could not enjoy Drinky Crow and crew’s drunkenness and overwhelming baseness. Maakies just exhibits too much contempt for mankind and completely fails to enumerate on the source of that despise. As a result, all of the circumcision, vomit, and shit thrown around in Maakies leads to a couple of gasps here, a few giggles there, but it all culminates into a final decline into a state of ennui where the next excrement or assault gag feels as normal and unexciting as a car driving by on a walk in a city…except the car may at least be an interesting model or color or perhaps even be playing a good song.
Green Eggs and Maakies is available via Fantagraphics Books.