4 out of 5
One of the few funnybooks on the stand that’s managed to stay fairly consistently funny – and that’s at a laugh out loud level – for multiple years. Most humor books, especially ones like ‘Bob that are essentially a collection of short strips, tend to be very hit or miss, generally depending on the writer, or, for similar reasons, they burn bright for a brief while and then are done. But United Plankton has found a stable of reliable creators who all seem to get comedic comic book timing, and also know how to balance the silly with the meta.
This is especially apparent in this year’s FCBD entry, which is all about… FCBD, or ‘No Charge Funny Book Day’. When Mr. Krabs gets wind of the event, he sees re-sale dollar signs, and so conscripts his Krusty Krab workers to take the long journey to ye olde shoppe and pick up ye free books. Hijinks inevitably occur. But the great thing about Jay Lender’s script (perfectly supported by Jacob Chabot’s energetic art) is how it builds a whole story out of things, not just stopping at the more jokey end point of the comic store, and thus wrings out several more great jokes from the premise on the trek back home.
This tale takes up the majority of the book but absolutely earns its pages. The varied, wide open settings traveled through also drew my eyes to Brian Miller’s colors, which are fantastically blended and vibrant. I’ll have to look at my other Spongebob books to see if I’ve just been overlooking this great color work this whole time.
Also included are the normal educational one-page (about waterspouts) and a gag strip from Kolchalka, who does do the hit-or-miss thing mentioned earlier, and this entry is sort of the latter.