John Cuneo • Fantagraphics • Now available

John Cuneo’s nEuROTIC will probably squick you out. It’s a sketchbook collection, featuring one-panel cartoons of naked people and their parts. By turns childish, political, absurd, and opaque, the cartoons range from Cracked-level sight gags to incomprehensible hieroglyphics, always punctuated by boobs, asses, dicks, and pussies. Imagine the New Yorker with pubes. Or Ivan Brunetti after a drawing class. Though definitely more neur- than er-otic, the sketches themselves are almost beautiful: detailed line drawings smattered with patches of color, rendered in a squiggly, familiar style. The style should be familiar — though this is Cuneo’s first collection of highbrow smut, his illustrations have appeared in a bazillion magazines, including Esquire, Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

Perhaps tired of staid magazine work, Cuneo aims to shock. His subjects are naked, fat, hirsute, and usually have something in one of their orifices. Though some of the jokes fall flat, the political humor can be facile, and you’ll want to quit sex forever, there’s still something compelling about nEuROTIC, in that “can’t look away” sort of way.           

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