“The juicer was a machine that gave an electric shock and with it came the clanging of the 13 brass bells attached to it.” So begins the reader’s journey into the dark, macabre, neo-Victorian world of Dame Darcy’s Meatcake comics.
This compilation of the best stories of the first 10 years of Meatcake, an expanded reprint of the out-of-print hardcover, is an almost voyeuristic peek into the deranged yet ingenious world of the musician/actress/fortune teller/dollmaker and comics genius. For those unfamiliar with her Meatcake legacy, Darcy’s scraggly drawing style and fairy tale–meets-nightmare slices of life are the perfect escape from the droll hum of reality. Darcy’s eclectic and reoccurring cast includes Effluvia the Mermaid, Igpay the Pig Latin pig, Siamese twin sisters Hindrance and Perfidia, the Wax Wolf, Scampi the Selfish Shellfish, and Friend the Girl. The stories themselves alternate between freak-show folklore and Seinfeld-esque “nothing happens” situations. There are broken hearts, bone-yard gossip, gunshots over hotcakes, zombies, and my personal favorite, “The Juicer and the Cake Walk,” in which everybody in town competes at a cake walk for a little taste of electrocution ecstasy. Meatcake is like the comics incarnation of a Tim Burton film, except instead of a tripped-out Johnny Depp, we have Stregapez, a woman who speaks by dispensing Pez through a bloody hole in her throat. Get the picture? This compilation is full of them. And you’ll savor every languid line and decaying body.