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Three Fingers

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Rich Koslowski
Publisher: Top Shelf

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THREE FINGERS is what you'd get if Oliver Stone had done Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

In the early part of the 20th Century, Dizzy Walters teams up with Rickey Rat, performer from the much-maligned "toon" species that humans share the earth with, and makes the first successful movie starring a toon. But the success does not seem to spread to other toons. They start to suspect that Rickey Rat has something unusual in his favour. They focus on the fact that Rickey Rat has a birth defect: only three fingers on each hand. What if that was the source of his success?

This wonderfully nasty little book is structured as a documentary, "footage" from the lives of the toon stars and their friends and handlers intercut with interviews from the present day with survivors of the time. Toons grown old. Gleefully grotesque little character studies of wrinkled cartoon characters with bulging eyes and weathered beaks. Rasping in the dark about conspiracies and maltreatment and hate. Lots and lots of hate.

It's a completely involving piece of work, cleverly easing you past the central conceit until you're immersed in the story. It gets you to laugh with the black jokes when they happen, so you're not taken out of the story. You go along with it, this great big mad yarn, until finally you're squirming uncomfortably in your seat at the mutilation and the unfairness and the doom of it.

Why won't Bugs Bunny take off his gloves?

-- Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in Nature, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh. He's on the web at warrenellis.com and diepunyhumans.com.


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