Review: 'Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics' is a hilariously absurd collection

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks

Gahan Wilson is one of the most unique and wonderful figures in comics history. He has a long and auspicious track record as a brilliant gag cartoonist with a dark and absurdist but oddly warm sensibility, with a distinctive approach that clearly influenced cartoonists like Gary Larson, creator of The Far Side and Dan Piraro, creator of Bizarro.

Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics

Wilson was also an absurdly productive cartoonist, who in his prime created his cartoons at such a rapid rate that it seemed there weren't enough places to print his material. With his busy lifestyle and active social life, it seemed that Wilson was in perpetual motion, creating his wonderful NUTS while also working on cartoons for the biggest magazines of his era, including Playboy and The National Lampoon.

Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics

Since he had so many comics created and so many friends in the newspaper business, in 1974 Wilson very casually created a newspaper strip version of his comics, delivering five or six gag cartoons each week to a small and select group of readers. As Gary Groth quotes Wilson, "I could do stuff that would make me happy and [it] was a pleasure all around."

Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics

The resulting Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics appeared in only few newspapers through the Register and Tribune Syndicate, including Wilson's native Boston Globe as well as a Los Angeles paper, but that now syndication rate didn't bother Wilson: "It occurred to me that it would be nice to have stuff appear here and we liked Boston very much."

The strip continued appearing up to June 1977, though Wilson doesn't recall how the Sunday Comics ended.

Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics

Fantagraphics has reprinted the full run of Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics with their customary attention to detail and gorgeous reproduction. If you like the strips you see alongside this review, you know that you need to buy this book. These comics crack me up, especially the weeks that are seemingly endless variations on different themes. I wish I had Wilson's absurd imagination – but the man is truly one of a kind.

Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics

For our interview with Gahan Wilson, click here. And for information on how you can contribute to a Kickstarter for a documentary about Gahan Wilson, click here

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