Created by, John Allison
Art by, Max Sarin
Colors by, Whitney Cogar
Letters by, Jim Campbell
This issue reads as a day-in-the-life one-shot. McGraw and his cricket team meet at a pub to discuss the yearly championship game, the Sheffield Inter-Pub League Shield, which their team will compete in against the perennial champions The Cricketeers. The next day, McGraw learns that most of the team came down with food poisoning. Only Paul and Rex from the team are well enough to play. His wife, Susan, offers to participate in the competitive game due to McGraw’s belief that his team has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win the shield.
The enjoyment for me comes in the way the writer pokes at cultural and societal norms within the context of an everyday life event. Additionally, the humor is sarcastic throughout, which amps up the fun. The night before the match, McGraw’s teammates label him “An Ascetic” and joke that McGraw won’t eat pub food because he hates pleasure. The jab has layers as it pokes fun at the whole keto diet craze that’s taken over the world. Later in the conversation, McGraw sardonically mocks that the reason their competitors have won the championship every year is due to “Nominative Determinism”; it’s all in the name. It jabs at the irrational reasoning sports fans and competitors have for their team’s success.
Team names are not the only topic to be mocked. Gender norms also come into focus. Susan references the 1970’s Tammy Wynette classic “Stand by your man” when she offers to play on McGraw’s cricket team so that they have enough players. And again, when a female member of McGraw’s team states, “Never send a man to do a woman’s job.” Fittingly, the female replacement players add a significant spark to the team and lead them to victory. Racial and ethnic norms are tossed on the pile when they make fun at the idea that everyone from India loves cricket. And, the whole continent of Australia loves cricket.
Cricket comes into the cross hairs of the writers when they provide a two-page layout with numerous panels only to explain how the game of cricket is played. My favorite is when they mock the speed of the pitch with the term “Pan-Dimensional Death balls” – referencing the velocity of the opponents cricket shots. However, by far the most impacting episode in the issue and the match comes when the team tells a teammate to “do it for the Sun.” I took the reference as some kind of cultural reference toward the organic/nature movement? Either way, It was hilarious. This issues epitomizes everything that makes this book great. It takes the art of comics seriously while remaining lighthearted and self-aware. Human being are quirky and hyper-focused on the wrong things, but can still have a lot of fun together. This is a fun comic that is quickly becoming addicting for me. Overall = 9/10