Yesterday we got in a few advance copies of Johnny Ryan's new book, TAKE A JOKE. I had a blast putting this book together with Johnny, I think it's by far his best collection yet in just about every way: the work itself, the sequencing, the production and printing, etc. It collects the last four (and strongest) issues of Johnny's ANGRY YOUTH COMIX (issues #11-15) as well as a slew of short pieces, mostly from VICE Magazine but also HOTWIRE and elsewhere. It's an unrelentingly dense frisson of discomfit and guffaws like only Johnny seems capable of delivering anymore.
While putting the book together, deciding what to include and what not to, we realized we had a couple of extra pages to play with. We considered this and that, not really finding the answer we were looking for until Johnny jokingly suggested to me on the phone one day, "Maybe we should do an index like you do in The Complete Peanuts."
He wasn't even remotely serious, but I thought it was a brilliant idea, providing something akin to a word cloud for Johnny's id. I set right to work and think it's the perfect beat to end on. It highlights the absurdist side of Johnny's humor, and demonstrates what an infinite well of profane ideas he seems able to tap. He makes it look easy, but it ain't. All hail Johnny "Cock Snot" Ryan!