Expiration Date by Laura Flook

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: Expiration Date

Author: Laura Flook, illustrated by Brian Williams (there are a couple of illustrators called Brian Williams and I cannot determine by style which one inked and lettered this comic – if anyone knows which one it is, let me know and I will link to him)

Type of Book: Comic book, adult comic

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: It’s a comic about a lunatic funeral home employee and her equally demented assistant.

Availability: You need to go to Laura Flook’s site to order this one.

Comments: Mr. Oddbooks keeps the Apple TV loaded with interesting television shows, some more interesting than others. Because we don’t have access to basic network television I am very much out of the loop where current shows are concerned (and I am okay with that – also, I haven’t seen a television commercial in a couple of years and have noticed a huge upswing in self-esteem, funny that). I was looking for something to have on as background noise as I made dinner one night and found a show called “Odd Folks Home.” I almost didn’t watch it because the intro was kind of hokey but I persevered for a few minutes.

In that few minutes I set eyes on Laura Flook. I turned off the program after her segment because the show really was very hokey but in spite of the sort of artificial wackiness of the show, she seemed like a genuinely interesting person.  The show focused on the woo-woo0-woooo weirdness of her life and the things she collects. Perhaps it says something about my own interests, but Laura Flook did not seem that odd to me. If I didn’t spend every spare penny I have on books, I assure you I too would have a room full of archaic medical equipment and a bottle of ether. She seemed really awkward and clever.  I like awkward and clever people.

So I looked her up, found her site, and when I saw she had a comic for sale, I had to buy it. It’s clearly a DIY sort of project, the book bound with what I believe is the thread one would use to sew up a body post-autopsy (Flook herself is a trained mortician). Printed on one side of the page on glossy paper, it’s entirely in black and white.
expDate 2

I can’t really discuss the comic in too much depth because it would utterly ruin it. Mostly it’s the hijinx of a mortician worker, Jelly, and her strange assistant, Cal. I found it clever and silly, with a shout out to The Misfits in the form of what I would call a very late-term abortion. I also learned a new medical term: erysipelas (look it up). As amusing as it was, it was gross and grim – dead baby, a genital collection, grave-pissing and more. But even as dark as the content was, I found the comic more amusing than upsetting. There were a few editing issues, but I am increasingly becoming numb to misspellings and homophone substitutions. Small presses will do that to you.

This is likely the shortest discussion I have ever written, and I think the reason I decided to write this up has less to do with the comic than its presentation. As I already mentioned, it appears to be bound in autopsy thread. It arrived in a manila medical records folder. And that tag over the front of the comic? A toe tag.
expDate - tag closeup
I mean, this may seem like no big deal to some of you but I loved this! My own toe tag! Interestingly, St. David’s in Round Rock is one of the few ERs I have not visited since I have lived in Austin. (I am clumsy – very, very clumsy. I managed to stab myself in my life line on my left hand in a very pyrotechnic manner making brownies one day. Brownies. Yep. So imagine what I can do to myself with staircases, hibachis and socks on hardwood floors.) I am also delighted that I apparently died of a communicable disease. Probably something from the cats that became zootrophic.

I found this to be reasonably priced for the scale of production, and especially affordable keeping in mind the level of care Flook took in the shipping and “add ons.” It is a clever, silly, gross and morbid little comic and my readers who find horror comics interesting will want to give this a look.

13 thoughts on “Expiration Date by Laura Flook

  1. “dead baby, a genital collection, grave-pissing and more”

    Sounds like my kind of comic!

    The toe tag is pretty awesome. That alone seems worth the price of admission.

  2. Dearest Anita, hahahaha. Thanks so much for the write-up / acknowledgement,. i saw a link to this web-page, under my ‘top referrers’ for today’s website visits. GLad you like the toe tag. THe BRian who illustrated E.D. is probably not amongst the Mr. Williams you are familiar with, as occupationally, he is first and foremost an advertising art director and graphic designer..He’s pretty much sickeningly talented at everything he does.He kind of sucks that way. I love him. ANyhow,.. This was the only comic book he illustrated. You can follow him on twitter (@FauxBlah).. For extra amusement, try googling the physician whose care you expired under. “Dr. James C Burt” . He’s horrifically well known in certain orbits.. PArticularly those in Ohio. . Btw- Next time you have a culinary mishap, I’d steer clear of St. David’s if I were you. It’s been touted as one of thee worst medical facilities in your area. .. oh – and i apologize about the poor editing ..though certain words have been deliberately misspelled. There are quite a few subtle references of various themes- graphically and verbally- crammed into Expiration Date.It’s not expected that every reader catch all of them..or even notice them..the first time round, anyhow. Well, I best get going. Thanks again for your order, your thoughtful review, the link to my website from yours the kind recommendation to your readers… I am beyond appreciative. Shrugs and Syphilis, Laura

    1. I am full of fan-girl squee, Miss Flook. I saw your Facebook mention of this as well. It was fun but I must mention that I seldom message the people I discuss over here but perhaps I should change that.

      We were Googling a Dr. James C BurK, looking for him in the St. David’s system but I will get on Dr. James C. Burt in Ohio. I can’t wait to see what I find. I bet it will be suitable horrible.

      I will need to read the comic again to see what other references I can find. Mr. Oddbooks, who is ex-military, explained the “This is my scalpel. There are many like it…” reference. It went right over my head.

      I am pleased you liked my discussion of your comic and I hope it brings you some sales! Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it. And let me know if you pen anything else in the future!

  3. I absolutely adore Laura. Her odd, awkward and cleverness somehow reminds me of myself at times. I love her clothing line too. Unfortunately, do to a serious health issue, I am so dirt poor right now I have to borrow the neighbors dirt! If I ever win the lottery one of the first things I’m doing is ordering this comic and one of Laura’s dresses!

    1. She has a new “clasping hand” pin I am interested in. I very much am interested in cemetery symbols so it is right up my alley. Which is good because I could never cram my zaftig behind into one of her dresses.

      When your cash flow improves and you can get her comic, please come back and tell me what you think!

  4. Awesome! I wish I could buy a copy but she seems to have run out. They’re popular!
    So this toe tag, did she actually work in Round Rock or was that just random pickings? I know she lives in NY now. I used to live in Austin, too bad I never posed as a corpse and got to meet her!

    1. Brittanie, I don’t think Laura has ever lived in Texas. She was just dedicated enough to check out my zip code and find the closest ER to me. The toe tag is sheer genius.

      I am so happy to hear she has sold out – this comic is a fabulous piece and her add-ons are so great. She deserves success. Of course I am sad for you not being able to get your own copy. But hopefully she will print more soon and you can grab a copy.

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