At the center of Too Much Coffee Man #2 Facsimile Edition our hero faces off in a grueling gauntlet for survival against an exciting new villain to the bitter end.
But, really, that’s not what’s important at all. This is BOOM! Studios reprint of the original issues of Shannon Wheeler‘s cult classic which helped define small press early 90s comix, TMCM is a frumpy protagonist who’s drive involves coffee, loafing around, and not much else, while his nemesis is a Liefeld-parody named Cliche, and they throw old fashioned truisms at each other along with punches and bullets. It’s silly, enjoyable, and knows when to wrap up.
The comic is drawn in a loose black and white style with a liberal use of cross hatching and playful page layouts. The fun is in watching Wheeler, who has since become an Eisner winner, experiment with the comic book medium.
Angst is the real genre here, and that Wheeler incorporates superheros at all is part of his delightfully meta approach. TMCM vs. Cliche is the main attraction but there are other stories including a recurring platonic male and female friendship navigating relationships, and TMCM back ups that address paranoia and technology. The strongest piece comes at the very beginning in a maybe auto-biographical story where a trollish looking cartoonist struggles with writers block and questions the value of even producing another comic in the first place.
Also reprinted are old letter pages, merchandise pages with notices saying “You Must Go Back In Time To Purchase These Items” stamped on them, and an editorial page featuring CD reviews. If you’ve never explored alt-comix in the early 90s, this is a snap-shot of one of the finest titles from that era at its peak.
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