MASTERPIECE COMICS reviewed by Newsday

'The Book of Genesis,' 'Logicomix,' more comic books

Newsday    |    Sam Thielman    |    November 19, 2009

'Masterpiece Comics," Robert Sikoryak's hilarious collection of literary riffs, avoids the swashbuckling adventure genre (traditional in novel-to-cartoon adaptations) and focuses on philosophical stuff like Albert Camus' "The Stranger," realized as "Action Camus" and featuring a cape-wearing muscleman with an appropriately blank space on his chest where a big "S" should be.

A man who looks uncannily like Jon Arbuckle of "Garfield" ends up making a deal with his satanic cat, a la Goethe's "Faust"; Kafka's insectoid Gregor Samsa has to deal with being called a blockhead on top of his metamorphosis; and don't even ask about Dante's "Inferno."

Besides their awesome funniness, what makes these cartoons impressive is Sikoryak's ability to mimic everyone from fantasist Winsor McCay ("Little Nemo in Slumberland") to animator Mike Judge ("Beavis and Butthead"). "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz had Parkinson's disease for much of his professional life, but Sikoryak is skilled enough even to re-create the wavery quality of his linework in homage. "Masterpiece" is exactly the right word.

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