I wrote earlier about Billy Bob, the newest book by Belgian absurd humor master Nix, and more particularly because of its remarkable format. It’s your typical, large-sized Franco-belgian album, but it has been covered with yellow soft fabric, a bit like Billy Bob’s chaps.
But just who is this Billy Bob? He’s a bit of a bumbling cowboy, doing everything he can to learn what only real cowboys can : shoot indians (or should I say Injuns). He goes to Cowboy school (and flunks his shooting lessons every time), and tries to follow the tips of his best buddy, Woody (who doesn’t wear yellow woolly chaps, but rather denim and a red checked shirt).
Most of the strips are basic three-panel gags, which typically get more absurd by the minute. When Billy Bob gets trampled by a herd of bison, his Japanese therapist helps him by… trampling on his back. When Billy Bob and Woody are captured, they’re not scalped or tortured, no, much worse : they’re presented with a PowerPoint presentation! And a cowardly injun who can’t scalp a cowboy, can always get one from the scalp-o-matic.
It’s clear that these jokes don’t aim at political correctness. ‘Chinamen’ are typically yellow midgets with broad-rimmed hats, indians are red with feathers, period, and cowboys are just plain stupid. But then, the stories aren’t meant to be realistic. In one particular strip, Nix shows the truth behind the strips : Billy and Woody are nothing but kids acting out what they see in old westerns.
In longer stories, Nix is able to make more elaborate jokes, full of references to other BD (Gaston, the Smurfs, Lucky Luke), movies and other aspects of pop culture. But the best part is at the end, when he includes thirty pages of extras, with puzzles, games and more stupid little jokes.
I don’t know whether this book will ever get published in English in any way. Once more, a good incentive to learn French (or Dutch, maybe ?) and enjoy one of the funniest comics I’ve read this year, even better than Nix’s masterpiece, Kinky and Cosy.