When I saw this title slated for release I was eager to read it. I hadn’t had the chance to read previous outings of Too Much Coffee Man, so I leaped at the opportunity! The creator/writer/artist of Too Much Coffee Man is Shannon Wheeler, Eisner Award winner and current cartoonist for the New Yorker Magazine. As the character’s namesake suggest, grab a cup of coffee and let me tell you what this book has to offer!
I didn’t really know what to expect from this, and was really surprised that the format for the book is similar to a cartoon strip. I grew up loving Calvin and Hobbes, so I was excited to revisit this version of comic entertainment. There is very little of the title actually dedicated to the character of Too Much Coffee Man. The time you spend with him brings a very dry, sarcastic, and hopeless sense of contemplation. If you’re looking for laughs, this isn’t a “BWAHAHA” funny…more of a “heh” sort.
The Cutie Island section contrasted sharply from the time spent with Too Much Coffee Man. On Cutie Island we follow the adventure of a rabbit and his buddy, an earthworm. I probably enjoyed this more than anything I read initially as the story was an imaginative and solid tale with very inventive creature artwork, and personality. It felt like Cutie Island was an attempt to teach the reader something…or to make a simple statement: Be content. That’s what I got, but really I’m sure I could learn a lot more from this the more time I gave it.
There are some clever pieces of poetry from guest writer Matt Speer that I enjoyed quite a bit. Wheeler goes on giving us more random pieces that include insight on relationships, family, animals (especially cats!), life, and a small adventure that includes a boy and his squid. A lot of the bits were pretty dry for me…almost like they were scribbled on the side of someones homework, and thrown in for the heck of it. Still, this book would be an excellent addition to anyone’s coffee table and could serve to teach us something new each time we read it.
Parental Concern: Yellow to Orange for some adult themes
Too Much Coffee Man: Cutie Island can be found at your local comic store for release on February 22, 2012, from Boom! Studios!