Lake Gary TP
Publisher: Iron Circus Comics
Release Date: July 16, 2024
Price: $15.00
Creator: Paul Southworth
Format: 230 pgs., 7"x7", Full-Color, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-6389-9117-5
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

The publisher of this book proudly proclaims that the artwork the cartoonist uses in this comic is like the artwork and humor on Adult Swim cartoons, and that seems like a fair assessment.  The problem is that this is not always a good thing.  Lake Gary is filled with all sorts of social commentary in a comedy/science fiction setting, only paced as if the artist was running out of time on a Tik-Tok video.

The main character is a mutant fish, altered by toxic waste in his lake.  The other regular characters are a female goat scientist (no stranger than a mutant fish, right?) and a time-traveling robot from the future who has memory loss due to being hit over the head by the mutant fish (well, he is a mutant after all, but his ancestry, which is part of the story, may explain the hands…).

There are some very funny moments in this strip.  There are also moments, many, where the reader might want the artist to continue a story line to an actual payoff, which seems to be an occasional thing.  It is difficult to do social commentary in a 4-panel-per-day format, but some of the classic comics, ranging from Pogo to Doonesbury, managed to do just that.  In this case, the weakness of the story is the main character, who rarely displays any redeeming qualities, and for a mutant fish, just isn't very interesting.  Pearls Before Swine is a successful comic strip that focuses largely on an unpleasant central character, Rat, but that is because it's more of an ensemble comic that also pokes fun at the creator.

--Nick Smith

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