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Wuvable Oaf #3

Review by Joe Palmer

Ed Luce with Mark Herzog and Matt Wobensmith
$4.50 / 40 pages
Goteblüd Comics

In which a wonderful night for two improbable guys is imperiled to become a worst date possibly ever.

When last we saw Oaf and the object of his affection metal rocker Eiffel they had just agreed to a date. Eiffel was making arrangements for the dinner to take place at former lover and celebrity chef Hammond Reed’s newest restaurant. This issue Luce guides us throughout the evening from Papa’s arrival for cat sitting duties with very special needs Pavel (oh dear, what’s driven Pavel to act this way?) to meeting Eiffel at band practice (“Yoko’s here…”) to the arrival at Reed’s culinary venue, Rage Against The Cuisine, where diners are offered the opportunity to slaughter their own meat. It’s a perfect opportunity to lampoon both snobbish fads in restaurant themes and vegetarian activists protesting the establisment’s practice. And then there’s the actual dinner date, personally presided over by Eiffel’s evil ex-lover Reed who’s out to sabotage a relationship between our sweet Oaf and Eiffel before it even has a real chance to begin.

The plot is basic and anyone can relate to the anixiety that a first date can create. With that solid foundation in place, Luce gets busy doing what he does best from the writing aspect: writing damned good dialog and character moments for his fictional cast. For example, Oaffie is painfully embarrassed when Papa talks about dating Troffie, who likes water sports. Or how diminuitive Eiffel keeps his burly bandmates in check with his show of blustery bravado (a point that Luce elaborates on later) then becomes undone when presented with the gift of one of Oaf’s handmade dolls, which carries through to the restaurant where he becomes assertive and protective of Oaf while they’re in the metaphorical wolf’s den of Reed’s over the top restuarant. Actually, Reed reminds me of a Doberman Pinscher but “in the den of a Doberman” doesn’t have the same ring. If the saying is true that you don’t piss off your waiter before your food arrives is true then you sure as hell don’t want your evil ex preparing dinner for you and a date! Despite Reed’s efforts at culinary revenge in the kitchen, Oaf appears to be unwittingly winning this battle just by being himself until Eiffel steps away to answer nature’s call. It’s the perfect opportunity for Reed to strike with his most powerful weapon – doubt. Does Oafie have chance now? Will Eiffel get a clue or just piggishly indulge in dessert sushi? Argh! It’s a cliffhanger ending!

Luce fleshes out these crazy characters more in this issue. The mystery behind Goteblüd is revealed! And no, I won’t tell you what it is! Just that there’s more to the story, a lot more, than simply revealing who the wrestler was. I remember watching wrestling every  Saturday when I was 12 way back in 1970 and thinking there were other things going on aside from matches being staged so reading Luce’s twist here on Goteblüd makes me happy. There’s also a handful of one page strips showing how different members joined Eiffel’s band. They’re all funny as hell stories – since they didn’t happen to you – and the incidents make the sexual tension exponentially more intense between the band mates, Eiffel, and sweet, romantic Oaf whose obliviousness to it all makes you cheer for him even more. In a two panel sequence Luce alludes to Papa’s (and Oaf’s) past with a simple photo that indicates a happy, if not happier, time for Oaf’s gentle father figure. It’s just enough to make you wonder more about that period on Oaf’s past. And not to be forgotten is the band of angry cats who gang up on another unsuspecting kitty in the issue’s opening sequence.

Luce is the first to admit that the wait for this storyline between issues has been long and I’ll add that in my estimation it’s been well worth the wait! Sometimes I wonder if we forget that indy artists and writers have “real” jobs to pay the bills just like the rest of world (aside from those annoying super-wealthy people who don’t want to pay taxes). The love and pride Luce has for his work shines through in every bit of dialog, character nuance, and art. And speaking of art, I’d like to suggest that Luce’s style be studied by new and or aspiring artists wanting to make their own comics for the variety of shading and mark making techniques he uses with great effect to create visual interest in black and white art.

Oops! I’ve been such a bad boy not to mention that there’s an ultra deluxe edition of Wuvable Oaf #3! Perhaps taking a cue from John Waters and his Odorama cards for the Polyester movie are three Luce designed scatch and sniff cards: Kitty Magnet (Oaf attracting a clowder of cats); Pig in the City (Oaf’s best bud Smusherrrr’s own scent); and Crowded Tour Van (do you really need a description?). There’s a carefully hand torn ticket stub (details, people!) for an mp3 download to an Ejaculoid track – Ejaculoid being Eiffel’s band. Last and by no means least is a vinyl mini disc imprinted with a very memorable image and featuring “Sleep Apnea” written and recorded by Needles and Exillon.

Go visit Wuvable Oaf now and catch up! What? You haven’t read Oaf? Now’s a great time to start!

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