Wearing the Horns

 WETH   (Äardwolf, 2003)

™ and © 2003 Äardwolf Publishing

Clifford Meth is back with more “illustrated fiction.” This time, however, it’s not short stories; it’s a novella. In Perverts, Pedophiles and Other Theologians, Meth had no trouble bringing his characters to life in small bites. The larger portion, however, really lets him make these characters real. And he does.

Wearing the Horns is the story of two “mutts.” Herb, of Jewish descent, was raised Catholic. Barbara considers herself Jewish, even if Judaism doesn’t. Somehow, these two find one another. And then? Suffice it to say that “wearing the horns” has enjoyed six centuries as a description of one whose wife has been untrue. After that … well, it ain’t always pretty.

The art, from a variety of comics professionals, may interest fans of the four-color medium, but make no mistake: It’s quite incidental. That may be what gets it in the comic shops, but the writing is the real star.

Aside from the quality of the writing, it’s interesting to see the impact of DVDs on literature. The book features two “bonus scenes,” which take two sets of supporting players from the main tale and shine the spotlight on events in their lives. It’s a novel approach. Rather than running subplots, which would detract from a tightly woven main story, this allows us to “hyperlink” to other interesting characters in related storylines.

One caveat: People in Meth’s world are not among the most chipper you’re likely to meet. While the characters declare a happy ending, their standards may differ from yours.

— Jack Abramowitz

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 Clifford MethDave Cockrum, Mike Pascale, Paty Cockrum