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Van Deusen, Tom – Scorched Earth



Scorched Earth

Old timey readers of this website may recognize that title and author, and that’s because I reviewed an earlier collection of this story, um… earlier. But don’t worry, as the story continues into this graphic novel! For those of you who don’t feel like digging into the archives, the previous comic told the story of Tom (or an alternate version of Tom) as he goes on a few OKCupid dates and is generally one of the worst people in the world while doing so. It also tells the tale of his mediocre to awful job and how little he does at work while trying to get through the days. He ends up falling for a lady who doesn’t seem to appeal to him in any way (outside of getting really drunk one time and sleeping with him), but that does launch him into a lengthy obsession with her and the man she eventually started dating instead of him. Along the way he also decides to try polyamory (after looking up the definition online) and is a big old creep at a party that his college roommate ends up throwing (Tom is described as being 8 years older than said roommate). The Scorched Earth story ends up as gloriously as anybody could have hoped, but wait, there’s more! Tom also tacks on two later chapters of the story at the end of the book, depicting a time four years later after that version of Tom has lost a lot of weight and is desperate to show the woman who spurned him just what she missed. He hires somebody through Craigslist as muscle for when he confronts them (not that he wants to hurt anybody), and things naturally go hilariously wrong. Whichever way you’re guessing it goes wrong, trust me, you won’t see this coming. Tom also included a few other strips in here, dealing with his trying to get in on the vape craze (kids, if you’re reading this after the craze has faded, vaping was people smoking either tobacco or some smokeless junk in a douchey mechanized box of some kind, and all of it was completely untested with nobody having a clue what would happen to them if they used it. Hilarious!), Tom bringing a katana to work and Tom getting a taste of power after he’s told to interview a prospective employee while the actual boss was away. It’s a damned funny book all around, and if you’re single it also serves as a handy guide on what not to do around women and how not to behave. Ladies, nobody asked for it, but if you’re looking for dating advice, “don’t date Trump supporters” is the best I can do for you for the next four years. Oops, I got political at the end. Sorry. Buy this book, laugh, and forget about the bleak reality of our lives! $16


Van Deusen, Tom – Scorched Earth #1



Scorched Earth #1

Are there any guys out there who need to feel better about their awful dating life? This might be the comic for you! Or it might not be, as at least this guy is going on dates, and maybe that is not true in your situation. Anyway! This is the story of Tom, who is either partially or not at all based on the Tom who made this comic (I’m guessing “not at all”) and a series of his dates based on women who responded to him on OKCupid. Which is the dating site for people who don’t want to pay to be on a dating site, in case you haven’t heard of it. The trouble is that Tom (the character) is an unrepentant asshole in just about every way, which makes dating difficult. His first date is with a vegan hippie lady, so his choice to start it off with a joke about “fags” doesn’t go over too well. Still, booze is a hell of a thing, and drinking enough of it would make just about anybody attractive. Tom has a shallow (but hilarious) moment, things do not end up going well and he ends up drunk at home by himself. The next morning is awful, but Tom is a trooper and already has a date lined up for dinner that night. Unfortunately the lady from his previous awful date is there as well, and the date that he did line up looks nothing like her profile picture, and there’s still all that wonderful booze around to confuse things, which is about where I have to stop getting into this to avoid spoilers. There are also three short strips at the end in the style of the old Peepshow strips (lots of tiny panels on one page, just in case any of you philistines haven’t read the early work of Joe Matt). One deals with one of the worst job interviews I’ve ever seen, one is about a party and Tom’s attempt to win everybody over, and the last one is one more date to round things out. This is funny as hell and you’re going to have a hard time reading this without ending up feeling better about yourself. After all, chances are that you aren’t nearly as big of a dick as this guy, and that’s something, right?