REMEMBER WATCHING the first season of Netflix's BoJack Horseman, when somewhere in the middle of that sad-man-pony story you began to notice that the half-people/half-animals in the background were doing super odd things and wearing really cool outfits? That was Lisa Hanawalt. Art director for the show's first season and producer/production designer for its second, she's the one responsible for the unique character designs (Amy Sedaris as a pink-furred talking cat!) that give BoJack Horseman its vibrant, original style. Hanawalt also makes amazing and lovely comics, as evidenced by her new "one-woman anthology," Hot Dog Taste Test.
Theriocephaly (animal heads, human bodies) has been Hanawalt's calling card for as long as I've known about her work. I got into the bonkers movie reviews she did for the Hairpin in 2011 and 2012. (They're still around and you should look them up!) Her subject matter never strays far from wry observational and relationship humor projected through a Carmen Miranda fruit hat lens—if we are permitted to use a fruit hat as a lens, and I think in this instance we must. Hanawalt lands on a lot of fart jokes. She celebrates a fine, grown toucan woman laying and then devouring her own egg. I enjoyed the free experimentation with topless beasts sporting human breasts. Hanawalt also has wonderful comedic timing. In the midst of the colorful jungle of nude birds and shy peens, my favorite parts turned out to be her pencil-drawn fake campaign slogans for major brand corporations like McDonald's ("I'm tasting.") and Subway ("Eat a tube of food").
Hot Dog Taste Test is undoubtedly Hana- walt's most cohesive and well-designed book yet. Like her first anthology, My Dirty Dumb Eyes, HDTT collects articles previously published in magazines. Most are from Lucky Peach, the art- and illustration-focused food magazine originally published by the combined efforts of Momofuku's David Chang, Peter Meehan, and McSweeney's. Hanawalt's article "On the Trail with Wylie," about shadowing celebrity chef Wylie Dufresne at his restaurant WD-50, won a prestigious James Beard journalism award for humor, and I would have NEVER read anything about that guy if she hadn't made a comic about it.
Wanting to see Hanawalt's art was the reason I gave BoJack Horseman a shot. Now fans of the show should check out the lady who taught you to love the look of a depressed reverse centaur.