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.