Ian McDonald's Kling Klang Klatch

Thinking about Ian McDonald for the post on logomarks below got me thinking about McDonald's stone-brilliant 1992 graphic novel, Kling Klang Klatch, illustrated by David Lyttleton. Unlike much of McDonald's most amazing work, Kling Klang Klatch is still in print, which makes me feel like there's maybe just a little justice in this universe.

Kling Klang Klatch is a hardboiled detective story that revolves around the lyrics to various classic Tom Waits lyrics, in ways both trivial (The diner menu lists "Eggs and sausage, side of toast, coffee and a roll, hashbrowns over easy, chili in a bowl") and significant. The kicker is that all the characters in this really grisly murder mystery are teddy bears, dollies and other toys, executed in vicious lines that make their cuddliness into something sinister.

Heartbreak and psoriasis, my friend.
I am telling you, it's all heartbreak and psoriasis.

Five a.m. on the greasy streets of a city that never sleeps, the dolls are on the hard stuff and the transport's about to strike again. On the news it's all bombs and killing machines the size of tenement blocks. The only consolation for a weary middle aged cop on his way home is a little illegal sugar and some sweet tenor sax.

But that was before they found the body that looked like somebody and unzipped it then scooped out all its insides. And the three words scrawled on an alley wall.

Three red words, so fresh they were still dripping.

It's enough to knock out anyone's stuffing. And in Toyland, that's no joke.