My problem with being reminded of the entertainments of my childhood by grown-ups is that, in most situations, these grown-ups get so wrapped up in convincing me that they know that I know what they're talking about that what they're supposed to be talking about (Fun! Whimsy! Innocence! Slipping in the occasional gag for grownups!) never actually gets the attention it deserves, lest I miss the nudge-nudge wink-wink post-irony grad school education they're dying to show off, lest they ever appear anything other than Too Cool for Fun. God forbid we appear anything other than ironic and clever, right?
The thing about Jay Stephens is that he KNOWS that we know that he knows, so he doesn't waste time or insult our hep by winking constantly, by assuring us that Oh, I'm Much Smarter Than All This Lets On, by making sure he maintains his healthy detached ironic distance from the whole thing. Instead he just gets right down to the jam-kicking and lets loose his id on the page, trolling his (and our) childhoods while riffing away footloose and fancy-free.
The LAND OF NOD ROCKABYE BOOK, which did nothing to merit so cold and clinical a preamble from me, is a wonder. Stephens' craftsmanship as a cartoonist is top-notch, from his line-work to timing, his pace balanced perfectly with manic energy, and most of all, his sense of humor. Like his other assorted works, ROCKABYE is funny. Really, really, laugh-out-loud funny. Whip-smart and razor-keen, don't let Jay Stephens pass you by.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.