Death Takes a Holiday

Jim Massey’s impulse was basic: to make people laugh. With his simple art and concept, he succeeds.

Death is a faceless cloak, and he’s just trying to enjoy some time off. Each page is a six-panel strip in which Death gets mad at people in movie lines who spoil the ending or makes fun of easy slogans.

While hanging at the bar, he also meets a genie, a ball head with a fez. The genie uses a straw for his drink, the kind of everyday detail that grounds the metaphysical humor. The comic’s minimalism puts the focus on the gags, which are quite funny and often insightful.

Jesus and Muhammed also make off-screen cameos, mostly arguing a lot about trying to fight the devil. Death serves in the observer role, there to react to their dialogue, but that makes sense: Death is the ultimate observer.

The second issue is just as funny as the first, with Death being forced to wear a wire by the FBI in order to get information on Jesus and Muhammed. Then he visits a classroom for career day and makes fun of marketing.

The ideas aren’t necessarily uncommon, but they’re presented without self-indulgence. Massey is creative and has little regard for the sacred, being willing to satirize almost anything. Yet he’s not tearing down ideas for their own sake to be hip or edgy; he’s got points to make.

One Response to “Death Takes a Holiday”

  1. Jesse McCann Says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed DTAH! I love that book, and Jim is one of the funniest guys I know, if not THE funniest.




Most Recent Posts: