Melville Snelson is back and now he has a podcast. Following from the first issue, Paul Constant and Fred Harper’s series takes aim at ‘cancel culture.’ Having been ‘canceled’ for various things, Snelson now hosts a fairly successful podcast where Lynzi Irwin, journalist/defender of free speech, arrives to interview him.
With issue #2, Paul Constant is taking the character of Snelson further into reality. After issue #1 last month, it was easy to imagine Snelson as a variety of people. There’s a seemingly nonstop cavalcade of anti-woke ‘comedians’ and Snelson #1 perfectly captured that zeitgeist. But now that Snelson hosts his own podcast, the allusions to real life are becoming a bit more pointed.
The character of Lynzi Irwin is an interesting one. A Milo Yiannopoulos of sorts, she’s a ‘producer, director, journalist’ who acts as a bastion of free speech (whatever that means to her) whilst being the opposite of what you would expect: a married gay woman. With Iriwn, Constant is exploring his critique of cancel culture and online toxicity.
Similarly, the issue does a great job of really commenting on these topics. Irwin remains irate throughout the issue that Snelson has been canceled, despite his successful podcast and stand-up. Meanwhile, those Snelson interviews for his show also serve a good purpose in furthering this comment on online toxicity.
All that aside, the issue is funny, too. Given that so much of the story is relatable to our current climate, all the jokes land. Sometimes the jokes are set up and paid off pages later, but sometimes one-off lines are simply hilarious. Snelson interrupting his podcast guest’s intimate story to plug the sponsors was a particularly solid moment. Considering the plot of the book, it’s surprising how well Constant manages to make Snelson’s life funny.
On top of everything else, the artwork is still fantastic. Harper’s work catches Constant’s baton and runs away with it. Visual comedy is something you barely see in comics these days, but Harper has made it a mission to pull a laugh out of the reader nearly every few pages. It’s work like this that shows what comics can be when it comes to a genre like comedy.
Many of the issues here are similar to those brought up with last month’s review. Snelson isn’t remotely likeable. He’s clearly not intended to be. Given his success as well it’s almost hard not to feel a sense of irritation just looking at him. There are secondary characters here to get the reader through it, but it is still a book about horrible people doing reprehensible stuff.
Additionally, and this isn’t necessarily a complaint, there are many references to contemporary culture this time. The subtlety of the first issue isn’t as present with names like Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson being thrown around, as well as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. It’s possible some may be thrown off by such direct references, but it’s hard to believe a reader who follows those kinds of personalities to miss the point of the book.
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