Scott Bateman’s Sketchbook of Secrets & Shame

Scott Bateman’s work strikes me as something of an acquired taste — you either get it or you don’t. I don’t. I like his style, in small doses, but…

Scott Bateman's Sketchbook of Secrets & Shame cover
Scott Bateman’s Sketchbook
of Secrets & Shame
Buy this book

His drawings are simple, and everyone looks alike. This particular volume collects his sketchbook cartoons, which consist of head shots with odd sayings. A couple of them I found humorous, but most of them I either didn’t get or thought them stupid.

For instance, his recurring fascination with “trying to get Maggie Gyllenhaal in the sack”. Several cartoons consist of people saying what they’re using for that; it seems like a wannabe hipster version of Mad Libs, and about as funny. Much of the time, the drawings are unnecessary, since they don’t add anything to the gag line.

His version of political commentary consists of calling the president names, and he name-checks bands to say they suck. This book also includes 14 essays, but I only recognized the names of John Kovalic and Wil Wheaton. The essays don’t say much, either; most have the message “Bateman is cool (and by extension, I am too).”

This book made me feel old and tired, but then I realized the problem wasn’t with me, it was the material. I can see getting some enjoyment out of these cartoons the way one might enjoy reading a fortune cookie — one a day at most, and only briefly. A book of them is completely unnecessary.

See samples and find out more at Bateman’s website.

(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)

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