Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam and Other Stories by Simon Hanselmann
If you’ve ever read an article about comic books, there’s a good chance the author included the words “biff”, “pow”, or “zap” in either the headline or the lede.
The “comics aren’t just for kids” angle has been a hallmark of the non-fan press for the last 30 years, most of it written by people whose only experience with comics came from the 1960s Batman TV show. The truth is, comics aren’t just for kids, especially when the comic features a romantically-linked cat and witch whose hobbies include ingesting any and every drug they can get their hands on and terrorizing their owl roommate.
Australian-born cartoonist Simon Hanselmann’s Megg and Mogg stories are modeled after the Meg and Mog series of children’s books by by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pieńkowski, but aside from the names and costumes there’s no comparison.
Look past the funny costumes and anthropomorphic animals and you’ll see characters with surprising depth. Hanselmann’s stories are portraits of people adrift, still clinging to the recklessness of youth while succumbing to the reality of getting older. Depression and anxiety define these characters as much—if not more—than video games and drug abuse do, but Hanselmann’s stories aren’t millennial navel-gazing; they’re hilarious. They’re also filthy, gross, uncomfortable, and strange. In a word, they’re great.