Title: The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy?
Written, illustrated, inked and lettered by Stan Yan
Foreward by T. Motley
Intended Audience: Mature Readers
Format: 96 page b&w comic, color square-bound cover
Retail Price: $9.95 US
The long-anticipated sequel to the underground hit, The Wang: The BIG One. As successful as The Big One was a combining what Scott Chon(Arbiter of Good Tast, Sequart.com) calls, “An Asian-American sex comedy” with “a laugh-out-loud tragedy,” Yan feels Who’s Your Daddy”one-ups its predecessor by weaving into the mix, “the best murder mystery I’ve ever written.” 2006
“Every strip has a laugh, even when it is really meant to set up for a larger joke.”
Yesterday, I started off Web Comics Week with a look at Calamities of Nature. That strip came to my attention due to having advertised in the past. So, why abandon that method of picking strips to take a look at already?
THE WANG is quite a funny comic. It has a diverse cast, as well as subject matter. Unlike the turn that Calamities took with changing to the old standard layout, WANG has at least kept to giving you something more akin to the double-sized Sunday newspaper version. And why not, since it is delivered weekly rather than 2-3 times a week?
But where it really breaks from standards is in the subjects and language used. Our protagonist, Eugene Wang, constantly has the short term romantic hook up between his mother and his ex-girlfriend thrown in his face. They have his friend, George L. Gedaladapus, tricks a dimwitted friend of Eugene’s into bed and into handing him a check for a bogus pyramid scheme (that might be a redundant phrase, come to think of it). The language used tends to be a little blue from time to time and has no qualms about employing sexual humor.
In addition to going politically incorrect or with shock humor, they tackle the more “middle of the road stuff” (like what a dog on a walk is thinking) and politics (like addressing some of the voter suppression tactics used).
Unfortunately, since the online version only goes back to February 2008, I can’t really compare and contrast how the strip started versus how it is today. It existed in some form before that date and, I’m gathering, previous strips were pulled down once they were printed in a collection. From the start of this iteration, though, Stan Yan (the creator) was in full stride.
Every strip has a laugh, even when it is really meant to set up for a larger joke. Maybe Yan is more keen on this due to his weekly schedule. Readers are probably even more concerned with having a payoff in each strip when they only get it on Mondays. But whatever the reason, it consistently works.
The cast is extremely well-balanced. While Eugene’s ex-girlfriend might not be able to carry the strip with cutesy observations about a dog being walked, there is rarely a case of feeling the strip is lacking by the absence of a particular character. Quite the opposite, it works when it’s Eugene & George, George & Sueann, Eugene Jr & Eugene Sr or any other combo that graced Yan’s WebComicNation page. That page apparently does contain some old work with the character, but not the beginning of the version you’ll see under THE WANG.
I’d head on over and catch up on the last year of strips. I don’t think you’ll regret the time spent.
“Satirical cartoon of present-day US. B&W, good art. If you read MAD-magazine back at the day or like Crumb-style art, this is for you.”
~Garfunkel, Iron Tower Studio, 10/27/2008
“If you’re tired of the same ol’ comic book furfural you should definitely check out the Wang.”
The Wang is from Squid Works (www.squidworks.com) and is $9.95 for 88 b/w story pages. The Wang is a series of strange graphic novels featuring the same characters by creator Stan Yan. Eugene Wang, the main character, has an overbearing mother, a dysfunctional romance and frineds that always seem to do better in life than him. Eugene struggles, but ultimately life beats him down; a loser who, when revealed, is even a bigger loser. Yan’s creation is unique, weird, funny and at times disturbing. If you’re tired of the same ol’ comic book furfural you should definitely check out the Wang. The GFP is 4 for your d20 Modern campaign. ~ Tony DiGerolamo, Knights of the Dinner Table #143, September 2008
“FIVE STARS” [out of 5]
The Wang #1 (The Big One) and #2 (Who’s Your Daddy!) by Stan Yan. Woooo, nice work here for sure! Both issues are comic book size, about 90 pages each, $9.95, with color covers and square bound. Black and white interior art that is super fantastic all around!
From the inside cover of #1:
The Wang is supposed to be a graphic story about my son, Eugene Wang’s “Coming-of-age” –his graduation from college and subsequent entry into the world of business. But what you hold in your hand is a pack of lies perpetrated by Mr. Stan Yan! I raised my son to be a strong, upstanding young man–not the sack of tripe Mr. Yan illustrates. Granted, he does a good job of portraying those hussies that prey on my son, but I don’t have words for how appalled I am by the godless acts perpetrated in this book…and how old-looking he draws me. Shame on you, Mr. Yan–mark my word, you will burn in Hell for this!–Sincerely, Selma Wang, Mom.
So how can you not buy these books? Really great art and story in both issues! (*****5 out of 5 stars for each)
“This is what comics exist for”
Stan Yan understands comedy, and comedy timing more than most people I have read. He really knows how to build a story that leads to a simple, but brilliant punch line and keep you laughing and wondering along the way. He seems to understand how to make the highly dramatic completely hilarious as well. That includes car crashes, break-ups and not knowing whom your father is or if he’s even alive.
Who’s Your Daddy? feels like season three or four of a TV show that’s so good with brilliant writers, that you can drop right in and quickly know who’s who, what’s what and what you’ve missed that’s important to the current situation. It will take you but a moment to want to join Eugene Wang down his wacky, weird world of stockbrokerage, old college friends, ex-girlfriends who used to have sex with his mother, and a brush with life and death. That feeling btw of season three is essentially because The Wang is the continuing story of Stan’s lead creation Eugene Wang.
On the Squidworks website one can read the Pre-History of The Wang, a hilarious strip updating once weekly that tells exactly what he claims, the story of Eugene Wang before “The BIG One”, back when he was a steroid induced superhero known as The On-Campus Crusader! Sound crazy? It is, but in a good way. Stan’s artwork fits his story telling sensibilities perfectly. It’s got that cutesy meets realism aspect I tend to really enjoy, but he also has dynamics that blow you away.
There’s a sequence in Who’s Your Daddy? which is stirring, scary, funny, violent and dramatic all in once and Stan captures this all in his dialogue, pacing, artistic decisions and that un-nameable thing that just speaks to you and makes you say “This is what comics exist for”.
Stan also has a comic which he drew written by Ape Entertainment’s Managing Editor Kevin Freeman called Subculture coming in Spring. The preview feels like we’ve got one of those nerd meets “no way can she be a nerd” love stories inter-spliced with bad job, crazy roommate, and nerdy pop-culture references. I personally never tire of that type of material and in Stan’s artistic hand it looks fabulous. Keep an eye out and make sure you go to Squidworks to get yourself copies of Stan’s The Wang books.
“I can’t recommend it enough.”
Who’s Your Daddy? continues the story of newly college-grad Eugene Wang as he tries to survive his job, his mother, his girlfriends, new and old, and find out who his daddy is. And I think putting the disclaimer of “For Immature Adult Readers” on the cover was a great little touch. As with The BIG One sexual humor abounds. Work sucks (which gets rubbed in his face by a friend of his), he has a very disturbing sex dream, his ex would have him risk life and limb to hide her dildo from her parents, and the truth about his dad could be a very scary thing (or not).
I am so glad I had this volume to read right after I finished The BIG One; it is a perfect follow-up. It’s completely off-the-wall, outrageous, and unabashed, and it’s the fact that it’s believably realistic that makes it so darn funny. Eugene gets the short end of the stick no matter what he does or how hard he tries, and while we might feel sorry for him we also can’t help laughing our asses off. I especially love the zombie parody as Eugene, injured from a car accident, staggers through the city to hide his ex’s dildo. And of course, it does not end well for him, but seeing the moviegoers run in terror was priceless. The Wang is my kind of humor. Immature? Yes. But also on a level that wont dumb you down. It also deals with reality and life in such a way that those looking for a “easily amused” moment just wont get. While it may not be for everyone, I can’t recommend it enough. Go grab The Wang today!
“Tastes like: your mama’s nipple.”
The Wang: “Who’s Your Daddy?” This is the second installment of Stan Yan’s relatively polished graphic novel about an eternal loser constantly stumbling through scenes of confusion and jealousy with a cast of stronger but way less ethical characters. The funniest foil is his maddeningly more successful old college buddy who always skipped class, but never ass. Wang’s girlfriend left him for his mother, which leads to some lunch-chucking moments. Quirky, dorky, and occasionally gruesome—like something from Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation. Tastes like: your mama’s nipple. Squid Works Comics, PO Box 480463, Denver CO 80248-0463, email@example.com, www.squidworks.com [$11.94 US, $12.94 Canada & Mexico, $13.93 elsewhere, select trades, age stmt (13+ with written parental consent, or 18+) :30 96M] ~ Jaina Bee, Zine World #23
“The art continues to impress…”
College grad turned office schlemiel Eugene Wang returns in a new graphic novel featuring more corporate shenanigans, disturbing sexual encounters, and near-death experiences, along with a search for Eugene’s long lost father. The humor in this new Wang GN is slightly darker than the first one, which was a surprise – witness the car crash scene and what immediately follows, for example. While the satirical elements and character bits are still in place and still quite funny, the whole thing felt a bit disjointed, like it got lost somewhere along the way. Not necessarily a bad thing; I guess I just expected more involving Eugene’s dad. The art continues to impress; I especially like the facial reaction shots. B
“…like reading Clerks or Mallrats if they were graphic novels…”
Perhaps it’s the Kevin Smith-esque, characters, dialogue, and situations. Or maybe it’s that The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy?, the second entry in Stan Yan’s The Wang series, was my first foray into this world. But whatever the reason, it’s hard to not feel disengaged and slightly off-put by Who’s Your Daddy?.
The book follows the post-graduate real-world exploits of Eugene Wang, navigating his way around an entry-level stock broker job, an ex-girlfriend who is now also his mother’s ex-girlfriend, and a know-it-all friend who’s charismatic enough to get girls and employment with little effort. And in this second entry in the Wang series, Eugene is also attempting to answer the titular question of who his father is. For the most part, Eugene’s problems could be those of any recent college grad in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. Maybe we can’t relate to our mother dating then breaking up with someone who used to be our girlfriend, but we certainly have friends like the ones Eugene says and we have, at one time or another, have had to deal with the dread and angst Eugene feels at his job, in conversations, and just trying to make a place for himself in the world.
But that familiarity ultimately works against Who’s Your Daddy? because so many other artists and filmmakers and writers have mined that material. Going through sections of this lean, efficient book is like reading Clerks or Mallrats if they were graphic novels. The opening seven-page first chapter is so overwrought with swearing, dorm room philosophy/economics/political discourse, and care-free reminiscences of what girl Eugene’s friend George banged when that it’s hard to take those crucial first steps to caring about what’s going to happen in the book.
This problem persists in various forms throughout the rest of the scant 95 pages of the book. A mainstay of the book is Eugene’s fantasy world in which he gets back together with his ex, Chief, and, later, where he and Chief are involved in a horrific car accident. The latter dream lasts nearly 22 pages, or roughly over 20 percent of the book’s length. That is far too much time to dedicate to a sequence that reinforces Eugene’s loyalty and commitment — things that are bolstered a couple times prior to this — when the purpose of the book is to have him find his father.
What ends up happening is that the climactic discovery of his father’s identity comes on page 91 with nary a whimper. This comes after a very rushed, haphazard, underdeveloped narrative thread about the possibility that Eugene’s mother murdered his father, which itself starts on page 75 and ends on page 90 — though not every one of those 15 pages is dedicated to that subplot. It seems as if Yan remembered midway through that Eugene should maybe start looking for his father and therefore rushed what was seemingly the point of the book. That is no way to tell a story.
Who’s Your Daddy? is disappointing because, admittedly, it’s a well illustrated book. With its black-and-white panels, stark contrasting, and chiaroscuro framing, Yan’s work recalls to a certain extent Charles Burns and Daniel Clowes. Similarly, Yan’s protagonist, Eugene, is a wonderful cipher for the aloof, oft-misguided paranoia that characterizes so many twentysomethings carving out a life for themselves in the 21st century. Wade Busby from The Guide to Self-Published Periodicals compares Eugene to a grown-up Charlie Brown on the back cover of the book. A more appropriate description there couldn’t be.
The first book of the Wang series, The Big One, was highly touted for its realism and irreverence. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the follow up. Who’s Your Daddy is an enjoyable read at points, but its problems far outweigh its successes. Perhaps if it were a longer book, or maybe if Yan planted the seeds of Eugene’s search for his father in the second installment for them to blossom in the third book, this second entry would have been more successful. But, as it is, it’s rushed and a bit shoddy, and no amount of admirable illustrative work can compensate for a lack of a narrative thrust.
“De hecho deben ser las veinte páginas de cómics con las que más me he reído en los últimos meses.”
Dentro de la marea mareadora y a veces vomitiva de la autopublicación de cómics aparecen propuestas que sacan la cara por toda la vecindad. En el caso de Stan Yan, su serie The Wang sobresale por cuenta de la mezcla perfecta de solidez conceptual, excelente actitud y dos millones de estrategias para torturar a un personaje principal. Así, la vida y obra del tímido veinteañero Eugene Wang nos ofrece un conjunto de elementos ideales para armar un cómic más parecido a una sit-com pasadísima que a un título humorístico tradicional. Por eso, en vez de convertir al joven en una otra parodia de superhéroes, Yan lo mete en un triángulo amoroso de pesadilla conformado por Eugene, su novia y su madre. Su madre de él. Si a esto le sumamos que el tipo acaba de terminar la universidad y está buscando trabajo o en otras palabras plata, tenemos suficientes enredos, incomodidades, transpiración y estafadores para hacer de The Wang una historieta que se merece una oportunidad.
Según Yan, yo le compré uno de los últimos ejemplares que le quedaban del primer tomo. Y aunque podría ser una estrategia para vender, me lo dijo con una tranquilidad que le daba mucha verosimilitud (Obviamente en Amazon se deben conseguir los dos refácil). El hecho es que si tuviera que recomendar uno de los dos volúmenes, el segundo definitivamente es el más atractivo. Usualmente, y lo digo por experiencia propia, cuando uno está planteado el mundo y los personajes de una serie cómica se toma mucho tiempo asegurándose que todo está bien plantado como para que el lector entienda el tipo de humor que uno está trabajando. Así, cuando la tarea de difundir las bases de la serie está terminada empieza la verdadera fiesta, el segundo tomo, en el que todo puede pasar y los giros son cada vez más exagerados y divertidos. La secuencia de un Eugene moribundo arrastrándose hasta la casa de su (ex)novia para que los padres de ella no encuentren The Loser, su vibrador, es absolutamente clásica. De hecho deben ser las veinte páginas de cómics con las que más me he reído en los últimos meses.
Aunque uno de sus referentes directos es Peter Bagge con Hate y Apocalypse Nerd, The Wang me recordó más a 4 Segundos de los argentinos Alejandro García Valderrama(g) y Feliciano García Zecchin(d) porque me remite al estilo de la comedia televisiva. Ya no se trata del círculo vicioso de la historieta noventera en el que el protagonista es un clon del autor y el mundo del papel es una caricatura del propio. Ahora se trata de una comedia distante de la experiencia creadora que ojalá empiece a recibir el reconocimiento que merece.
“Miguel and Suzy had a wonderful time at the MoCCA Art Festival. There was so much to see and do. They highly recommend a new graphic novel called, The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy?by Stan Yan. The book is hilarious, the art is beautiful, and Stan seems like a great guy. “
Super Girls and Vibrator Oaths (Excerpt)
SPOILER ALERT: This edition of THE WANG is the second graphic novel in a series, and so as a reader I was a bit in the dark regarding a number of the characters. Thankfully, a quick recap on the inside front flap along with the basic premise being easy to grasp made reading this fun. The introduction compares our hero (Eugene Wang) to Candide, which brought to mind a more modern version of the classic hapless innocent: Kurtzman & Will Elder’s Goodman Beaver. Like Goodman Beaver, Eugene has only the best of intentions but not much spine and few wits, and he tends to wind up in situations that escalate in terms of his own humiliation and personal suffering. Yan’s particular story interests revolve around humiliation in bed and in the workplace.
The story starts off with some heavy-handed attacks on business, the government, etc by one of Eugene’s friends. Not knowing the character, it was difficult at first to tell what Yan was trying to accomplish here. Happily, the scene quickly changes to Eugene’s ex-girlfriend (who dated his mom after they broke up!) fantasizing about a three-way with Eugene and his mom that disturbs even her. It was quite a jarring shift in tone and content, but that’s what made the scene funny. From there, Eugene is derailed in his soul-draining job as a cold-call stockbroker despite his best attempts, attends a vapid sales motivational seminar, runs into fellow sales hustler Sue Ann Potts (who is even more clueless and helpless than he is) and tries to find out if his father (whom he’s never met) was murdered. My favorite part of the book came when Eugene’s ex-girlfriend (Kristin, aka “Chief”) gives him a key to her apartment. This was done for one reason: if she’s ever in an accident, he must come to her apartment and remove her vibrator before her parents come in and discover it.
Of course, this leads to the two of them getting into a car accident, and a gravely injured Kristin reminding Eugene of his oath. In the book’s best sequence, Eugene (with a broken ankle and a bleeding tongue) walks across town, oath firmly planted in his head. Dragging his one foot and slurring his words, he scares a crowd who just got out of seeing “Dawn Of the Dead”. The set-up, the timing and the ultimate (and multiple) payoffs of this sequence are fantastic. Not every gag clicks in this book, but this chapter builds on prior jokes and brings them to a head. The denoument of the book, where Eugene suspects that his mother may have killed his father, has its own share of pleasures and some genuine emotion.
The book is somewhere between gag book and and slice-of-life story. It reminds me a bit of what Terry Laban used to do in books like CUD and UNSUPERVISED EXISTENCE, and Yan’s art even reminds me a bit of early Laban. The exaggerated characters and stylization remind me a bit of Bob Fingerman’s MINIMUM WAGE stories, though Yan is not quite as accomplished an artist. At this point, I think Yan is a better writer than artist. I actually quite like his exaggerated caricatures: Eugene’s absurdly long and out-of-place lock of hair, Kristin’s grimness, his mother’s gruesomeness. The problem is that his line is just too heavy at times. The comedy in some scenes is undercut by over-rendering and too much use of black. Some of the panel composition can be a bit cluttered, confusing some of the narrative at times. Fortunately, Yan’s comic timing is unimpeded by these difficulties, and I’m quite curious to see how his style evolves. There aren’t many artists employing Yan’s brand of humor these days, and it’s a welcome sight indeed.
“…alarmingly funny. Kinda like how it’s funny to see somebody get hit in the crotch.”
Stan Yan’s “The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy?” is alarmingly funny. Kinda like how it’s funny to see somebody get hit in the crotch. You’re laughing as poor, poor Eugene Wang’s life goes from bad to worse. I wouldn’t want any of that stuff to happen to me. ~Dan Merritt, 5/10/2006, Green Brain Comics
“The new book retains all of the strengths of the old one while elevating the story to true beauty at times”
That brings us to Eugene Wang, college graduate and holder of a liberal arts degree in a world that doesn’t give a f*ck if you can write. Eugene is the hero of Stan Yan’s new OGN The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy from Squidworks. In the first book in this series (The Big One), Eugene’s girlfriend left him for a lesbian relationship with his mother, sending our hero into a downward spiral of jealousy, torment, and futility from which nothing short of brainwashing offered any real hope of escape. Even then, Stan went for the minimalist ending, sending Eugene back home to his dysfunctional relationships because they at least reaffirmed the love in his life in a way that he understood. I liked Stan’s first book, but I’ll be honest and say that the ending left me deflated. Was it real? Yes. Was it effective? Yes again. But it left me feeling disheartened, and it wasn’t funny at all, unlike the rest of the book, which I found hilarious.
Thankfully, the new book is different and better. Yes life is tough, but in Who’s Your Daddy, Eugene tackles it with an upbeat aplomb that makes him far more likeable. Life sucks, but he wears it well. Mr. Yan spends less time lingering on the challenges of adult life and instead focuses on real issues: the War, the false promises of corporate American, and the real work of maintaining independence in a relationship that is important to you. The result is both funnier and more biting than the original – at least to me. I suspect that at least part of the issue is that Stan himself has matured enough to where the issues that matter to him now are also issues that matter to me as a working adult. At this point in my life, I personally don’t give a crap about some 20-something’s struggle to find a job, but the challenges of economics, war, and relationships strike me as timeless. Eugene is a working adult; so am I. He struggles; so do I. That works.
Stan’s art has improved as well. The Big One was good. The timing in particular was excellent. The new book retains all of the strengths of the old one while elevating the story to true beauty at times. In some places the look is almost cinematic – a tough thing to pull off in a black and white indie OGN. Given more space and more patience, Stan lingers on a few important moments to good effect. With newfound artistic strength, Who’s Your Daddy packs a lot more punch.
If I had to crit one thing in this book, it would again be the ending. This time Stan takes a surreal tone that breaks with the subject matter to which I felt closest. In a fundamentally realistic (though admittedly over-the-top) satire, the surrealism put me off, and once again I found myself craving a bit more closure on some of the weightier issues raised at the beginning of the story.
In the end, I recommend The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy to indie comics fans who like cutting edge satire and social commentary. It’s a great book for fans of the absurd. ~Dan Head, Paperback Reader 4/7/2006
“It is funny, provocative and disturbing. It is a murder mystery. It is well drawn. It is well worth ten bucks of anyone’s money.”
The cover of Stan Yan’s latest graphic novel proclaims that it suitable for “immature adult reader.” Oh yeah and aren’t we all in that category. The Wang is the second instalment in the coming–of–age tale of one [Eugene] Wang and the very few people in his lonely life. It is funny, provocative and disturbing. It is a murder mystery. It is well drawn. It is well worth ten bucks of anyone’s money.
The tone is set by the 19 frame strip that dominates the inside covers. It is a very funny look at gullibility and the very human desire to get rich quick. The Wang: Who’s Your Daddy is divided into six chapters, there is a continuity that overrides all but each chapter concentrates on a different aspect of [Eugene]’s sad little life.
Chapter One is set in a café where [Eugene] is the attentive and bemused listener to the socio political rantings of a old school mate. The fact that the ranter gained all his knowledge from the various woman he bedded whist at College is a delightful touch, unfortunately [Eugene] fails to see the irony of this and the chapter ends with the poor guys paranoia going into overdrive. It is a well-controlled and compelling opening. The art work here [and throughout] is bold and confident, a reliance on black backgrounds adds to this boldness. The fact that Yan rarely goes beyond seven frames per page adds visual boldness and creates an expansive feel that prevails throughout the comic.
It is with Chapter two though that we realize that this comic is giving us something very special. The subject matter here is fairly degenerate as [Eugene] gets involved in a ménage et trios with his ex girlfriend, without realizing that the third party is his aged mother. We realize this disturbing fact long before [Eugene] does and this dramatic irony just adds to the grossness of the situation. This is sick material but Yan gets away with it. Somehow he knows how far to push [I can’t believe I just said that] and so he stops just short of presenting us with something truly repugnant but still unsettles and disturbs. That takes real skill and it reveals a creator who wants to do more than just shock. His Oedipal foray stops just short of compelling the reader to dig out his own eyes.
And so the tale continues, in the following chapters the ranter returns as a successful motivational speaker, [Eugene] struggles in his mundane job and his love life is a mess. [Eugene] is a classic victim.
Then just when I thought that this comic had found its rut and would amble along in a similar vein until the end Yan decides to up the ante to a whole new level. In chapter Five things take a serious turn. Think car crashes, serious injuries and dying requests and you start to get the picture. Throw a vibrator into the equation and you get true black humor. The tension builds as the woeful [Eugene] struggles to perform a role that he is just not big enough to carry off. We feel for him whilst at the same time laughing at him.
If this wasn’t enough Chapter Six raises the tempo to an even higher level centered as it is around [Eugene] trying to track down his long lost father whom he suspects was murdered by his mother.
This is s great comic. It is well paced and carefully structured. Yan draws the reader in and then takes us on a helter skelter ride as the main characters life unravels. It is a clever combination of the sad and the funny the banal and the ridiculous. Most importantly, it works. Buy it.
In a Word: Sharp
“Stan out does himself this time…”
The continuing story of Eugene Wang, a guy who seems to always look at the dark side of things, and nine times out of ten he is right. Stan Yan’s pro level cartooning is the first thing you will notice about this second volume in “The Wang” saga. Stan out does himself this time, with his cartooning and overall design of the book. The story of course has some twists and turns but Eugene basically is looking for the Father he has never known. I won’t give any more than that away here. This one is well worth the cover price, and you will find yourself going back through it after you read it, just to enjoy some of the wild panels Stan creates. ~Larned Justin, Homemade Komics, 2/7/06
“…that’s two great graphic novels in a row…”
OK, I officially really like this series. It’s all about the adventures of Eugene Wang, professional doormat, in case you didn’t read the review up there and/or can’t be bothered to look at it now. He get’s taken advantage of by his mother, his ex-girlfriend, and a random woman he runs into in the grocery store. As you may be able to tell from that title, a good chunk of this is about Eugene’s quest to find his dad, which isn’t a quest so much as it an attempt to get his mother to give him any information about the guy. All that being said, this is one great comic. It’s funny pretty much all the way through, the art is terrific and Stan manages to make even the most ridiculous situations (like Eugene’s ex breaking up with his mother and being expected to be the go-between for both of them) seem plausible, and did I mention that I laughed out loud a few times reading this? That’s far too rare in the world, seeing as how I read comics on a daily basis. Check out the links for more about the guy, but that’s two great graphic novels in a row, which I consider to be a great sign of things to come. ~Whitey, Optical Sloth 2/6/2006
“Yan proves hilarious in his unflinching ability to be outrageous and go places most others would fear to tread”
Okay, I know what you’re thinking; a giant vibrator with the words “Big Loser” along its side is not what you expect to see on the cover of a graphic novel. Stunning? Yes. Provocative? You bet. Another sign of the decline of human civilization? Wait until you turn to page fourteen. With bold lettering in the upper left corner of Volume One, Stan Yan prepares his readers with the phrase “Mature Use Only,” and perhaps more aptly on his second volume, “For Immature Adult Readers.” This definitely isn’t a series for the young – or weak – at heart.
Wang, just barely graduating college, must face the “real world.” But his real world resembles one of the raunchier Jerry Springer shows that were too spicy to run on regular cable. After his last college exam, he stumbles upon his mother and girlfriend in bed. Feel free to insert your own Freudian joke. Meanwhile, his employment at Robin Deblynde Investments, where the greatest sin is telling the truth, seems sketchier by the moment. Worst of all, he can’t even buy an Eskimo Pie without being accosted by someone who wants to rope him into a soap-selling pyramid scheme. When Wang finally does meet a new girl, she tries to rope him into a cult-like seminar group – and that’s just the first volume.
The second volume finds Wang elated over the breakup of his mom and his ex-girlfriend, and seeking advice from his college friend, George, whose great wisdom has been obtained via osmosis from the girls he bedded in college. When not having nightmares about his obligations to protect his ex-girlfriend’s sex toys from her parents in case anything should ever happen to her, Wang seeks out his father, to whom his mother has not spoken since before Wang’s birth. He is also trying to sell horrendous stock to kind old ladies but, alas, he can’t even do that.
Yan proves hilarious in his unflinching ability to be outrageous and go places most others would fear to tread. As outrageous as his adventures may seem, we have all heard anecdotes or even experienced aspects of Wang’s tale that make him easy to relate to. The other extremity of Yan’s humor comes in the form of Wang’s imagination. His idle fantasies and nightmares are the true hypothetical questions we all experience when under duress. Yan masterfully depicts the human psyche (and the sometimes asinine way we obsess over things). Yan’s full use of humor also proves delightful as he crams humor into names (such as Dot Kamm and Ernest Mann), requiring thorough examination of many panels to pick up on all the hidden jokes.
With the loose outline of a plot, one can follow Wang as he stumbles into the real world while laughing uproariously at the crazy predicaments he lands himself in. Reader be warned, The Wang will make you laugh if you let your guard down.
“I felt completely violated!”
SPOILER ALERT: They say that this graphic novel is for immature adult readers. The cover shows a woman holding a baby and the daddy next to her, has his face cut out from the picture. Learn the philosophy of purchasing stock in this comical comic book graphic novel, the philosphy actually makes sense in a very comical way. This is a story about Eugene Wang and his dysfunctional relationships in his lonely life. The encounters of strange people that impact his life in some meaningless way. One guy he meets says that ‘politicians are irreparably stupid. They’re just saying —– to get elected and leech off of our taxpayer dollars…..so the government is raising less money, but spending more on war…” You will learn that the war on terrorism, the war on drugs is a way to take away our civil liberties. Yes, this comic book graphic novel has some political overtones. There are other stories, Eugene gets involved in a menage de troix, well sort of. Eugene experiences Zag Zagler’s Motivational Sales Tour, suggested by his boss. There is a story that deals a bit with the Dawn of the Dead, as Eugene finds himself in a horrendous auto accident, bites off his own tongue, the woman driver is beheaded, but there is a hilarious outcome to the whole story. If you felt like you have been dumped on your whole life, I suggest you read The Wang – Who’s Your Daddy! After reading The Wang, I didn’t know where this story was taking me, but when it was all over, I felt completely violated! The Wang is exceptionally clever, maybe too clever! ~Paul Dale Roberts, CBEM Issue 561, 02/03/2006
“Keep an eye out for this one.”
THE WANG – WHO’S YOUR DADDY? ASHCAN PREVIEW #1-3: Excerpts from an upcoming graphic novel. Stan Yan’s hapless stockbroker Eugene continues to get crapped on by life everywhere he turns (best example: his girlfriend leaves him… for his mother!). The story takes a somewhat more serious turn in #3 — it’s still funny, but the humor is much darker — and Yan starts to set up a genuine murder mystery. The balance of wacky and serious is just right, and the cartooning is top-notch. Keep an eye out for this one. “Our politicians will sweet talk us just long enough to f*ck us, and they’re gone the next morning. They don’t have the decency to leave a twenty on the night stand either.” ~J. Carrier, Fantasy Theater, 08/24/2005