Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows

Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows

By A. Goldfarb

In all my years of reading and collecting comics, I had never even heard of A. Goldfarb, or his bizarre character creation Ogner Stump.  Nor have I ever seen anything quite like it.  But while browsing a used bookstore recently, there it was, standing out like a sore thumb amongst the TOR paperback originals and various modern day pulps.  The title of the digest lured me in immediately:  Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows.  How could one man fit them all in one slim volume?

Ogner Stump is, I suspect, an otherworldly incarnation of writer/artist A. Goldfarb--a greasy haired, slightly awkward nihilistic black-and-white philosopher with more than his fair share of melancholia.  The first portion of this book chronicles the first twenty-five of his thousand sorrows--I guess the other 975 will have to be found elsewhere--and they range from the 8-page "Disease" to the 3-panel "eggs".

That's right.  Even unhatched chicken embryos make this guy sad.

As for the stories themselves, they're so terribly surreal as to be almost incomprehensible at times.  But even when you can't understand them, you get the sneaking suspicion that it still means something.  And that's part of the charm of the surreal: it's open to interpretation.

The artwork is bizarre and obviously influenced by the underground comix of the 1970s, and is simultaneously beautiful and horrific.  All of this works together for a truly out-there experience that is instantly addictive.  You'll be craving those other 975 sorrows the moment you're done.

The second portion of the book is called "Assorted Mystifying Tales and Interesting Interludes," a series of longer tales which don't feature Mr. Stump as the lead.  They sometimes make more linear sense than their predecessors, such as the Charles Burns-esque "Dig Up Her Bones", while others come off like LSD-tinted versions of Alice in Wonderland and Dr. Seuss.  This section was a mixed bag in terms of quality, and overall it left me wishing that they had printed a second set of sorrows instead.

Imagine Zippy the Pinhead as done by Robert Crumb, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what we've got here.

Recommended to the freaks and the geeks alike.

Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows is currently ranked #2,758,889(!) in book at Amazon.com.  Visit the Ogner Stump website, or buy it today!


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