Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review -- Sam Spina's THE COMPLETE TARN

The Complete TARN

(Sam Spina)
3.5 stars
You know, sometimes it's okay just to laugh. Really, you don't have to worry about stuff all the time. A matter of fact, why don't you just take a few moments right now. Go ahead, give yourself permission to giggle.
I'll wait...
What's that you said? Having trouble finding something to laugh at? I find that hard to believe. Have you looked at your feet lately? Those things are hysterical. No? Nothing?
Hmmmm.... I know what will do it. You need to go and get yourself a copy of Sam Spina's The Complete TARNfrom Birdcage Bottom Books. If you're not laughing by the time you've finished TARN, then you may want to seek professional help.
Because The Complete TARN is funny.

The Birdcage Bottom folks say this on their website:
TARN is about an all encompassing mega corporation run by a powerful and mysterious leader. See how a butt-hungry alligator, a very Japanese dude, and a crime-fighting pig come together in the sequel to one of the top-grossing movies of ALL TIME. What, you have no idea what I’m talking about? Of course you don’t, bich! Read it to find out.
And that pretty much sums it right up.
In the past, I've talked about what I perceive as the humor gap. What was considered funny yesterday is no longer funny to a newer audience, and what passes for humor nowadays is completely lost on old codgers such as myself. It's like what I wrote when reviewing Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume 2  , “Are we the cipher of a new understanding or are we so inured to absurdity that we expect it in everything, from our entertainment to our sandwiches to our political choices?” I don't know from modern day funny. For me, absurdity has a place, much like salt, best if used only sparingly. But these kids today don't have the time for the long-form joke. They live in a visual world, and, as such, want their giggles in technicolor.
The Complete TARN somehow bridges the gap. Don't get me wrong, though, in this collection of intertwined stories of social constructs and personality flaws things are dog-dragging weird and head off the rails quickly; however, there is a careful hand at work behind it. Spina plays a long con with his small jokes and gets big laughs along the way. There's strength of narration here that puts the abs in absurdity if you will, and this, along with consistency of character (no matter how lunatic that may be), allows for expectations among the unlikelihood modern humor so often posits as a punch line.
This is a good thing. It makes for a better experience all around. It will give you something to laugh with, instead of at. It's just as funny in the telling as the retelling, if you know what I mean. And it's definitely funnier than your feet.
Oh, it also comes with a sticker. Who doesn't like a sticker?
- Daniel Elkin
You can pick up a copy of The Complete TARN from Birdcage Bottom Books here 

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