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Moochowski #2

Written and illustrated by Tom Brass and Lindsay Pollock
36-page comic book, £5

The rich family is in a tizzy! Daddy, an old, rich, Republican Senator, has died and left behind everything to... his gay lover? Oh, no! However will his uptight, square family cope?


Ain't that stoner guy such a scamp? Scene from Moochowski #2, ©2006 Tom Brass and Lindsay Pollock.


You've read Moochowski before, I promise you. The "soulful outsider saves the middle-class family from their own normality and teaches them the value of soul" story has been a staple of bad Hollywood cinema for decades now. Usually it's a black actor in the soulful-outsider role, but not always — think Nick Nolte in Down and Out in Beverly Hills. In this case, Soulful Outsider is a brash, white-trash loser named Moochowski, who entered Senator Wexler's life by burglarizing his home and getting caught in the act. The family includes yuppie-scum son Earl, put-upon son Charles Grodin... err, I mean George, his wife Martha and their own son, Howard, rebellious daughter Molly and miscellaneous caricatures of the rich and their vassals. A few of them rise to the level of two-dimensional characters, but none of them makes it to three dimensions.

Moochowski himself is the closest thing this story gets to a character with a well-rounded personality, but only because he's its trickster, and between that and the need to make him seem as much like an adult, mildly more aware version of Fast Times at Ridgemont High's Jeff Spicoli as possible, he's the only character whom the creators seem to have invested with more than five minutes' thought. Blunt, easygoing and somewhat mischievious, Moochowski is presented as the sort of guy you wouldn't mind hanging out with but wouldn't want as a roommate. He's somewhat mercenary, but he smiles a lot and might just whip out a bag of weed if the situation strikes him as right. Oh, and he has a funny little dog that bites the squares. (Cue the laugh track.)


Oooooh, that Earl sure is a shallow, self-centered guy. I've never seen corporate workers portrayed that way before! Scene from Moochowski #2, ©2006 Tom Brass and Lindsay Pollock.


The rest of this book has been cobbled together from spare parts, and none of them were interesting the first time they appeared. Does Earl's paper-thin businessman life tell us anything about corporate culture in America? Will the heartfelt life lessons George will inevitably learn enrich us in any way? Will our hearts be warmed when Molly learns a thing or two about responsibility and the love of family despite their straightlaced ways? Will the evil, hyper-patriotic Senator Coldsaw's inevitable comeuppance make the readers stand and cheer? The answers are likely no, no, no and no — at issue #2, I really haven't read enough to be able to answer these questions for certain of course, but nothing I've seen so far tells me that I'll really need to read on to know where this is going. I mean, come on, the issue ends with Molly and Moochowski about to hit a frathouse party, for crying out loud. Two issues in, and it's painfully obvious that the only things Brass and Pollack know about the United States come from cheesy movies where Dabney Coleman was almost certainly the antagonist.

Despite all of that, I wanted to like Moochowski, I really did. It's not like its creators don't show some amount of promise — the pacing and dialogue are competent, and the artwork, while not quite there yet, nonetheless displays a serious attempt of craftsmanship. Alas, they're wasted in the telling of this story. This isn't an unforgivable crime against art by any means, but it's a forgettable, journeyman work that will wind up a footnote in its creators' careers, should they learn from its missteps and go on to better things. Roll the end credits, already.


This essay appeared on the then-website of The Comics Journal sometime between 2006 and 2008.


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