Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Every Person on the Planet/Edmund and Rosemary Go to Hell

Every Person on the Planet
Simon and Schuster

Edmund and Rosemary Go to Hell
Simon and Schuster

Bruce Eric Kaplan is a cartoonist for the New Yorker, and it shows in both the art (simple but skillful line work) and the story. The lives of Edmund and Rosemary are upper-middle-class neuroses and anxieties writ large -- fables for a disconnected, discontented audience. The couple suffers through ennui, depression, and stress, while mundane issues become full-blown existential crises.

In Every Person on the Planet, Edmund and Rosemary decide to throw a party and wind up inviting, well, every person on the planet -- and everyone attends. The party becomes something of a microcosm of the world itself, while Edmund and Rosemary try to deal with the personal issues that arise while playing host to an event of that magnitude.

Edmund and Rosemary Go to Hell is, in fact, misleadingly titled, as what actually happens is that Edmund realizes that they are already in Hell -- hence the bad traffic and constant cell phone usage. He and Rosemary deal with this realization in their own ways, from speaking to their Congressman to trying to flee to Heaven.

Both books are short enough that to give any more detail would be to risk spoiling the enjoyment they contain. They're quick reads, both clocking in at a little over 100 pages with roughly one panel per page, and well worth the time it takes to read them. Sadly, as hardcover books they are rather exorbitantly priced compared to my usual fare, so I can't endorse them wholeheartedly, but if you can find them for a reasonable price in a used book store or, as I did, track them down at your public library, both books definitely deserve your attention.

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