"Ass Goblins of Auschwitz" by Cameron Pierce. Eraserhead Press, 2009.
Growing up, I watched a lot of TV. Nickelodeon, mostly. Ah! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy. They were light-hearted and funny, sure, but deep-down they were kind of unsettling, and with your eyes glued to the tube, you felt like you were given a glimpse into truly twisted minds, minds that were trying their very best to warn their audience of the darkness of adulthood to come. These cartoons with their drab colors and their focus on offal and snot and lint and gas were just too ugly and honest to be on the Disney channel.
“Ass Goblins of Auschwitz” is what happens when those kids, so mesmerized by the cartoons of their youth, grow up and write stories of their own. AGOA is a Nickelodeon cartoon pushed to the extreme and injected with cynicism. You’re born, things are good, you start to check out girls, and before you know it a goblin has his finger in your ass and is turning your friends into cider, you’re mutating and growing wings and you’re becoming one of them and you’re rebelling and you’d do anything to get out of the prison you’re in.
I promised myself I wouldn’t use the word “imaginative”, but AGOA is so filled to brimming with the products of a big, Mountain Dew-fueled brain that other words fail. The first half of the book is gripping, every page contains a unique, surreal image or idea, but it does not let up for a moment, and if you are not careful, by the end it could bury you under them. I enjoyed the quick pace and the brevity, but I also found the last twenty pages to be exhausting, a wild dash for the finish could have been sharper, more fleshed out.
That said, I can’t wait to see what Pierce will do next. With an imagination as fertile and frenzied as his, I’m sure I won’t have to wait long to find out.
Buy it here.