Wednesday, March 19, 2014

31 Days of Short Reviews #19: Team Society League

The Team Society League is a collective of artists working in the same style and same general set of characters to draw the filthiest, funniest gags they can conceive of. This group of Canadian cartoonists consists of John Martz, Aaron Costain, Zach Worton and Steve Wolfhard. A collection of their work was published by Annie Koyama, but there have been additional minicomics published since then (Team Society League IV and V) that are every bit as funny as that release. The gags are all silent and indulge in every violent, absurd and scatological premise imaginable. An anthropomorphic hot dog who continually loses the meat from his bun in painful and humiliating ways is perhaps my favorite character, because he exists simply to be punished.

Some of the gags here are fairly conceptual, like a panel with Tarzan, a panel with an ape, a panel with the two of them colliding swing on vines and then a panel of the last scene of Planet of the Apes is an especially effective cartoon. There were more pop culture parodies here than showed up in the Koyama collection, which I imagine is for legal reasons. As such, it was a treat to see a character dressed as Mickey in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" command the broom to go up his ass. It was a bam-bam, two panel gag that spent no more time than necessary in crafting and executing the joke. Team Society League serves as a kind of joke outlet, steam valve and goof-off activity from other assignments, but it's become its own dependably well-crafted entity. Each of the artists must maintain a certain standard of outrageousness, of course, but they must also maintain a certain stand of gag creation as well. It's not so much the grossness or transgressiveness of the cartoons that TSL creates, but the lengths they go to in order to make the funniest possible joke surround a gross or shocking concept.

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