The first in a series of trade paperbacks, this volume reprints the long-unavailable early issues of Bob Burden's absurdist comic book Flaming Carrot. One of the seminal titles of the underground black-and-white explosion of the 1980s, Flaming Carrot follows the adventures of its title character, a ludicrously outfitted, conspicuously stupid superhero of sorts. The caption of one panel asks, "Will he be the beginning of a new comic-book tradition or the last, dying gasp of the old one?" In retrospect, Flaming Carrot seems to be a bit of both. In both his stories and his inclusion of elements such as a nuclear-powered pogo stick and villains like The Man Who Walks Backwards and The Red Dyke, Burden manipulates the accumulated cliches of several decades of comic books, while achieving a recognizable freshness that would become the trademark of the movement toward creative independence in the '80s. History aside, these first three issues are funny exercises in how far the boundaries of a traditional-appearing comic can be stretched before breaking. Plus, the inclusion of other early material, a new story and an introduction by Dave Sim should make this collection worth owning for old-timers and newcomers alike.

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