Parenthood obviously agrees with Kyle Baker, because he loves telling funny stories about being a dad. Baker’s married and has three young kids, and he both loves his family and loves telling tales about them. This comic is full of nothing but family stories. It would be boring if it wasn’t for the fact that Baker is funny, damn funny in a unique sort of semi-animated style. The first story in the comic tells the story of his youngest daughter learning to walk, and he draws the scene in a style so animated and full of verve and life that it would melt the heart of even the most hardened person.
The heart of the issue is a thirty-page piece about the joys of taking your kids to the mall. The whole thing is wordless in the same way that a great Road Runner or Tom & Jerry cartoon is wordless – the events are enough to tell the story in a fantasically funny style. Baker often does this in ways that could only be done in comics – the baby’s crying on pages 30 to 32, ranging from a factory whistle to an atomic bomb to a squawking parrot, is just absolutely wonderfully done. When his oldest daughter carries a crystal vase, Baker uses a photostat of an actual crystal glass. The juxtopostion of the actual glass with the cartoony kid and dad makes her actions seem even more frustrating for Kyle.
I like how the stories don’t paint Kyle Baker in a great light, either. For instance, page 15:
Wife: This woman made millions with a cookbook. Do you think I could write a cookbook?
Kyle: What’s your title? “Fish Sticks and Pasta”
Panel Two: Kyle sleeping on the couch, floor strewn with baby toys next to him.
This comic is a real treat, especially for any of us who can identify with the unique joys and frustrations of bringing up kids.