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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Publishers Weekly Review of The Bakers: Do These Toys Belong Somewhere?

KYLE BAKER. Kyle Baker (www.kylebaker.com), $18.95 (96p) ISBN 0-9747214-3-3

Baker, the outrageously talented Eisner- and Harvey Award-winning artist behind such diverse projects as KING DAVID, PLASTIC MAN and cult classic WHY I HATE SATURN, has turned his attentions to more personal matters with this full-color collection of cartoon vignettes about family life. The family in question, based on Baker's own, consists of three irrepressible children and the harried couple who are their parents. In this world of alternatively angelic and screaming kids, no detail of domestic life is too petty for good-natured skewering. Feeding techniques, getting kids dressed, and secret tips for frustating parents all make an appearance. No surprise that Daddy Baker, who comes complete with dreadlocks and credit card, is frequently depicted with a smile bordering on a grimace. The tumult and confusion of this world is implied rather than spelled out. The brief comics are virtually text-free, with exaggeratedly cartoonish yet expressive artwork doing double duty as both explication and illustration. The physical comedy of the family's silent movie exploits gives the cartoons a silent retro feel that echoes the antic humor found in MAD magazine. This combination of Baker's inventive visual gags and chuckling familiarity makes the project endlessly appealing.

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