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Rocky: the Big Payback

Martin Kellerman is the Jane Austen of 21st century twenty-something urban European slackers. Firmly in the tradition of Fritz the Cat, Hate, and Clerks, Rocky is his mostly autobiographical daily strip detailing the rudely hilarious travails of a young cartoonist and his circle of layabout pals and neurotic, indignant girlfriends.

In this action-packed volume collecting the first year of the smash-hit strip, Rocky gets tossed out of his apartment, flies across the pond to visit a gay African-American pal (not realizing he lives in deepest Harlem); is ill-advisedly given the mission of euthanising a friend's beloved pet rabbit ("Tom, give this job to Clemenza." "Yes, Godfather.").

He makes a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to trade in his girlfriend for her younger, more buxom sister; gets a bowel inflammation and a colonoscopy; goes to a costume party dressed as Tinky Winky; tries to get laid while camping out at a rock festival - and basically drinks and fornicates (or tries to) his way through Stockholm and New York, with hangover following drunken binge and mortification following faux pas as night follows day.

What will probably be amazing to American readers is how similar the day-to-day experiences of these Seinfeld-watching, Big Mac-eating, hip-hop-listening Swedes is to theirs. Rocky is a reminder as to how utterly global our culture has become - and a reminder that laughter is truly universal.

Fantagraphics, paperback, 96 pages, published November 2005


£11.99  £8.2731 %

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