The Collected Toupydoops

Toupydoops has grown on me. I think the book’s gotten better and funnier as the artist becomes more comfortable with his characters and his skills; he’d probably say that I finally loosened up and got it. Either way, the first collection is now being solicited, so here’s your chance to place your order for this distinctive vision.

It’s a story you’ve seen before, the aspiring young performer who moves to Hollywood to make it big… only Toupy is blue, with antennae, and the companies that run the big town make comics instead of movies. McShane describes it as “Swingers meets Roger Rabbit”. The Swingers part is mostly Toupy’s roommate — think Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men, only looking like some kind of dog-like creature but still getting all the babes.

The Collected Toupydoops cover
The Collected Toupydoops
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The movie/comic comparison is familiar these days, and one reason I needed a little time to warm up to the premise was that it seemed a bit labored in the beginning. It’s not so much “what movies and comics have (or could have) in common” as “what if comics was exactly like the movie business”. Once the comparisons became part of the background, it didn’t matter what, exactly, Toupy was trying to get his big break in, only that we began to root for him to make it. His charm came through over time.

(I also really appreciated no longer seeing the cigar-smoking, diaper-wearing monkey as much, which seemed much too forced a point of frat-boy hilarity. Monkey guest stars remind me of Mr. Smith, never a good thing.)

I know, it sounds like I see more problems here than praise. But that’s the wrong impression for you to take away. It’s a funny book, all the more so when it’s based on character instead of situation. The art is very nicely done, too, clean-lined and clearly designed. The characters are both written and drawn as regular guys, so they’re either someone you know or, well, you.

In the stories here, Toupy has his first Hollywood audition, goes bar-hopping, gets a job as an editorial assistant, tries teaching kindergarten, and deals with competition.

A 37-page preview is available so you can check it out for yourself. The book is due in June 2007 and can be ordered through a comic book shop (Diamond code APR07 3850) or any bookstore (ISBN: 978-0-9792908-0-0). The collection contains the first five issues along with two short stories about the premise.

(An online preview copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)


3 Responses to “The Collected Toupydoops”

  1. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » April. 17, 2007: 32 pages to a pauper’s grave Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson reviews the first volume of Kevin McShane’s Collected Toupydoops. (Above: Busting on fanboys is always good for a laugh. Sequence from The Collected Toupydoops Vol. 1, ©2007 Lobrau Productions, Inc.) [...]

  2. John Gallagher Says:

    I really like this book– had it in my hand for months, and never read it. Then when I did, I was sorry I waited so long. I advise people to check it out!

  3. Toupydoops #6 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] actor in a Hollywood based around comic books instead of movies. (I previously reviewed the first series collection.) Teetereater is still his slick best friend, a hit with women and a conman player. This issue, [...]

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