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Dog Killer: Bob the Angry Flower    by Stephen Notley order for
Dog Killer
by Stephen Notley
Order:  USA  Can
Tachyon, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Bob is indeed an angry flower, but he manages to get around, voicing his approval or disdain of the world around him on everything from politics to the inane - oh wait, he considers politics a bit inane or is that insane? Probably both, because after all, he is a particularly angry flower, exploding at anyone and everyone that gets in his way.

This collection of comic shorts by Stephen Notley holds a certain appeal with its gritty drawings of Bob and his numerous comical adventures. Whether he is stealing missiles from Kazakhstan for the Amish or ignoring computer monsters, he's always disgruntled unless he is fantasizing about a world where the current state of affairs (namely, the President) does not exist. And who could blame Bob's angry disposition? He's a plant in a world where the environment is merely one more thing to exploit and he's worried about being de-rooted.

Obviously leaning to the left, these strips are both meant to gain a laugh and register a level of awareness that Americans seem to be missing in this day and age. Much of what Notley has to say is controversial and his use of comic art to say it can certainly ease some of the tension about the seriousness of his feelings about the current administration.

With over one hundred strips in this graphic novel, Notley touches on a variety of political, social, cultural, sexual, and religious topics, as well as offering off-hand panels that only tangentially address such concerns. His 'Robot Gallery' at the end evokes a laugh as Notley assigns a variety of sketched robot's titles and job descriptions - such as DeathBot, who 'looms large in the world's nightmares, a skyline-spanning juggernaut of unknown origin and uncertain goals.' But the best part of this graphic novel comes at the end with Notley's annotations as he explains and justifies his various panels with such comments as 'p. 32. I wasn’t too great with women at this point in my life.'

Quirky, funny, and just a bit too true for many people to want to think about, Bob the Angry Flower strikes a nerve that will possibly make readers reassess their anger levels. Though not all the punch lines will leave you laughing on the ground, many will make you think and get very, very angry.

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