WIDELY INTRODUCED with his 2014 New York Times bestseller Megahex, Simon Hanselmann's new collection Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam continues the comic adventures of green-skinned witch Megg, her live-in cat boyfriend Mogg, their high-strung roommate Owl, and their enabling drug-dealer friend Werewolf Jones. Although primarily a collection of weekly comic strips Hanselmann did for Vice.com, Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam also contains the Ignatz Award-nominated short story comic "St. Owl's Bay," about camping with a tacklebox full of drugs and hallucinating beautifully in the dark. Hanselmann's painting and layout style has always been striking, but the flow, color, and composition in Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam showcase an outstanding progression from Hanselmann's previous work.
I like Megg and Mogg (which seems humorously—read: non-litigiously—based on the '70s children's books Meg and Mog). I'm fascinated by it, I'm repulsed by it, and mostly I respect it because I know Hanselmann's inspiration comes from real life. It's soaked in a mundane hilarity that lends credibility, setting his work apart from the deluge of others exploring drug experimentation. Riding bicycles in a park and getting spanked while dressed up like Laura Palmer are fun activities regardless of what drugs you're on. By the same token, lame romantic passes from a therapist are universally terrible. Is Megg in the canal punching holes in the hull of a boat because she's on drugs?
Hanselmann is heavily influenced by The Simpsons, and there's a real couch-centric, sitcom feel to his narratives. His books are easy to pick up and immediately orient yourself within. At times, Hanselmann's next-level vulgarities are almost too much for me, but if I'm being honest, the most terrifying parts are those that address subjects like the children of irresponsible friends. That's terrible whether I'm high or not. In fact, that's less terrible when I'm high. Oh, I see what you did there.
Although Hanselmann grew up in Tasmania, he recently moved to Seattle to be closer to his publisher, Fantagraphics, and wife (who also works for Fantagraphics). Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, Simon Hanselmann. I hope we can keep up with your weird!
Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam and Other Stories
by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics) Release party at Floating World Comics, 400 NW Couch, Thurs April 7, 6-10 pm