The cast of Lulu Eightball is comprised of the often present author (depicted as a flabby, slothful, not all-together late twenty-something) and the strange assortment of characters that make up her waking life. Including but not limited to: talking insects, hipsters, cops on rollerblades, weed heads, clown counselors, helper monkeys, that guy from the office, Satan, robots, and angry babies. The foibles of these characters call attention to the fact that our world (or more specifically, “adulthood”) can be a scary, sad, weird place sometimes; but that doesn’t mean we can’t stop to laugh about it. Good humor is Emily Flake’s survival mechanism and she wields it like a can of pepper spray.
This anthology clearly illustrates a sharp-witted cartoonist coming into her own; perfecting her unique, refreshingly female narrative voice. As the strips progress we see the author developing confidence and sophistication in her work - her illustration becoming more self assured, her characters more expressionistic and lifelike. Additionally, we see the author defining her signature look and feel with free space 4 panel layout and deviant, cutesy dark comedy.
I’d recommend this to anyone who follows the exploits of Nicholas Gurewitch’s Perry Bible Fellowship or Tony Millionaire’s Maakies; both of which, coincidentally, appear alongside Lulu Eightball in the Baltimore City Paper. While each of these works stands as an individual anomalous entity, there exists a familiar tone between them, perhaps collectively manifested by their ability to effectively express the absurdity of our demented existences.
All of Emily Flake’s weekly Lulu Eightball strips from January 1, 2003 to the present are available for read, free of charge, on the City Paper website. If you dig even a few of them and want to see more, be sure to pick up a copy of this book through the Atomic Book Company to directly support the local publisher and independent cartoonist responsible for this most hilarious read. It’s worth every penny.