Action Figure: From the Journals of Richard Marzelak

 AFFM   (Baboon, 2006)

™ and © Baboon Books

Richard Marzelak has a problem. He tends to get so absorbed in drawing comics late into the night that he inevitably oversleeps and arrives late to work. This doesn’t sit well with his smug boss at Hasmark, “the world’s largest toy and greeting card company.” As punishment, he’s taken off design work on a line of monster toys and given a new project—The Pretty Pandas—adding insult to the longstanding injury of working at a job he considers below his abilities. When the company lands a big contract for the popular Japanese toy “Bot-Changers,” Richard finds himself competing with the company’s other designers—a quirky gallery of misfits and wannabe artists—for the choice assignment.

Told through Richard’s journals, ostensibly discovered at an estate sale in 2053, the story is appealing to anyone stuck in a cycle of frustrated creative aspirations. While the dialogue is sometimes awkward, the plot moves at a crisp pace, and the characters are sharply drawn and funny.

The art is pretty straightforward and, at its best during Richard’s fantasies, denoted by red tinting. The cover, an actual action figure of the artist in a blister pack, is also fun.

—Timothy J. Wood

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ca. 2006Richard MarzelakRichard Marzelak