The funniest comic I've ever read: Boy's Club #3

Boy's Club #3Matt Furie, writer/artist Buenaventura Press, 2009 40 pages $4.95 Buy it from Buenaventura Press

It might seem premature to cover a comic I read for the first time a little over a week ago in my "Favorites" series. It might be premature—if that comic weren't Boy's Club #3. Find out why I'm breakin' all the rules after the jump.

Two Fridays ago some friends and I gathered 'round the flatscreen for a drunken, junk-food-laden, back-to-back marathon viewing of Crank 2: High Voltage, RoboCop, and Road House. At least, that was the plan. Unfortunately we're not as young and irresponsible as we once were, so fully half the group punched out after the first (AMAZING, SEE IT RIGHT NOW) movie. By the time we got through RoboCop there were only four of us left, and none of us felt that watching Dalton clean up the small town of Jasper, Missouri in a quiet little quartet would do the late Patrick Swayze justice. So we called it a night, our grand plan abandoned.

Beery, belchy, and bloated, in addition to just plain disappointed, I spent 45 minutes in a livery cab slowly winding it sway down the West Side of Manhattan while playing Christian contemporary music on the radio, barely making the late-night "drunk train" back to Long Island. I finally get home and start staggering up the stairs when I notice a package from Buenaventura Press. Inside was the latest issue of Matt Furie's Boy's Club. I was not about to delay that particular gratification no matter how badly I let down the ghost of Patrick Swayze earlier in the evening, and so, choosing to kill two birds with one stone, I brought it with me for a little bathroom reading.

A few minutes later I'm sitting there, my body literally convulsing with suppressed laughter. I'm trying desperately not to just crack up, thus waking my sleeping wife and causing her to wonder what the hell it is I'm doing in the bathroom at two in the morning that's giving me the giggles. The second I realized what the story of the issue was about, whoa man, I could barely stand it. Whatever else went wrong that night, Boy's Club #3 went very, very right.

If you've never come across it before, Boy's Club is an irregularly produced humor comic chronicling the misadventures of four muppet-like roommates: Pepe, the big eater; Brett, the dancing machine; Landwolf, the party animal; and Andy, the funnyman. They drink, they do drugs, they play video games, they eat junk food and watch TV, they speak in catchphrases, they pull pranks on each other involving nudity and bodily functions, they sit around doing nothing in particular--they are, essentially, me and my roommates from 1997-2000. Furie's line is as unadorned as his character designs are rock-solid and reliably funny. Their simplicity allows nuances to shine, so he's able to capture just the right pose for a goofy dance or just the right disgusted facial expression in reaction to foot-fetish porn. Their simplicity also makes the strip's frequent psychedelic explosions truly mindblowing in their hyperrealistic detail. The combination is stupid like a fox, at once a celebration of idiocy and a ferociously funny satire of the culture that encourages it.

When I reviewed Boy's Club #1 I called it "one of the funniest comic books I've ever read." When I reviewed Boy's Club #2 I said "I like it even better than the first issue." Well, I like Boy's Club #3 best of all. In other words, Boy's Club #3 is the funniest comic book I've ever read. What puts it over the top compared to its predecessors? I'd say it's the shaggy-dog story that ties this issue together. In the past, Boy's Club issues consisted of stand-alone strips. Some were little vignettes of the Club's dissolute life of sloth and shenanigans...

Others were hallucinatory drug-induced freakouts...

A lot were riffs on cheesy, disposable pop-culture glossolalia...

And still others were clever tweaks of reader expectations using the basic mechanics of the comic's simple six-panel grid...

Boy's Club #3 has all that in spades, and more: It has a story that connects every sub-strip into a cohesive whole.

A story about a giant turd.

I'm not going to spoil whose turd it is, what happens to it, or even what almost happens to it. I'll simply say that an actual Boy's Club story could have been a fun-sapping disaster, but instead it just brings out more of what I love about these characters and this concept. Now I realize they don't have to be relegated to one page gags—they can do things or interact over a period of time and still be just as funny as they are in short bursts. Letting them live out a story for the length of a comic makes them even more reminiscent of the embarrassing, hilarious, gloriously stupid things I myself lived out in my day.

Boy's Club #3 is like the Side B of Abbey Road of poop jokes. Buy three copies--one to read, one to lend out, and one to leave in the bathroom.