“From The Ashes” is a wonderful satire that picks its fights wisely and, unlike some political humor, will stand the test of time. You need to have a healthy sense of humor for this to work and Bob Fingerman has that going for him. He does funny right with his art and writing. On top of that, he can tell a good story. In the end, no matter what your political views, you can’t help but like the guy and get hooked into this book.
It looks like Fingerman has done some soul searching regarding how he tackles the world of auto-bio comics. With a sense of modesty and irreverence, he gives us here a mash up of auto-bio, horror, sci-fi and political humor. In this case, Fingerman doesn’t think it’s enough to recount what’s already happened in his life. This book is a “speculative memoir” of what may happen and allows him to express his dismay with right-wing extremists, religious extremists and post-9/11 fear mongering.
It’s the end of the world as we know it and Bob and his wife, Michele, are alright, at least at first. All that peace and quiet instead of the mayhem they’re used to living with in New York City is therapeutic. All those annoyances, all the meaningless demands, all gone. Michele finally says goodbye to her dead BlackBerry, with a profound sense of relief. But a post-apocalyptic world isn’t all a bowl of cherries. The jolly couple go through a range of emotions and mourn the passing of loved ones just in time for their next challenge: cannibals.
The cannibals turn out to be foodies that don’t find Bob and Michele appetizing at all. Bob is rather insulted. He wants to pick a fight with the cannibals but Michele steers him away, just in time for: mutants. And later on it’s time for: zombies. And even later on, it’s time for: right-wing nuts. This really gets crazy when all these groups get mixed together. It’s all good fun in the spirit of MAD Magazine. Fingerman used to work with Harvey Kurtzman, the creator o MAD, and that influence has served this book well.
A healthy sense of humor is inextricably linked to a healthy sense of humanity. That’s a hallmark of MAD. Humor can be goofy, silly and offbeat but it also needs to be in touch with the human condition. If it were not for human folly, there wouldn’t be any good jokes. “From The Ashes” keeps to that ideal. It may seem loud and pushy at times but that’s part of being human and part of a book that rings true. In these times when we supposedly need to watch what we say, this book says it just fine.
“From The Ashes” is published by IDW Publishing. It is a trade paperback of 175 pages. And it costs $19.99