ACME Catalog

    (Chronicle, 2006)
™ and © Chronicle Books

There aren’t a lot of faux catalogs for comparison purposes, but Mark Martin’s Lillian Spencer Drake catalog provides nice contrast. Artwise, Martin’s effort varies between 1950s clip art and pictures he apparently drew with his pen shoved firmly up his nose. But it is chock full of laugh–out–louditude. The ACME Catalog is the creative opposite: polished and sleek-looking but more of a chuckle assembly line than a full–blown laugh factory.

Ostensibly the catalog from which Wile E. Coyote shops, lots of old favorites are here, from rocket skates and tunnel paint to Wile E.’s flying “Bat Man” costume. There are also plenty of new items, such as a dashboard HDTV (with picture-in-picture so you can watch two shows while driving).

Half of its appeal is that of a 2–D prop in a 3–D world. The part of you that longs to buy a utility belt or Thor’s hammer would like this book just to live vicariously through Wile E. As a book, it may not generate bwah–ha–ha’s, but it’s certainly good for copious tee–hee’s.

— Jack Abramowitz
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