Attack Of The Review Of The Bacon Robots!

Cover to AotBRTitle: Attack of the Bacon Robots (Penny Arcade, Vol. 1) (henceforth AotBR)
Authors: Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Genre: Comic strip collection
Available From: Thinkgeek, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

The Setup

I’ve been a fan of the Penny Arcade crew since almost the very beginning of the strip and so I was extremely excited upon first hearing the news of a PA compendium. I immediately placed it in my Amazon Wishlist and set about waiting impatiently for the 26th of January (its official release date) to arrive. My gracious and lovely wife preordered it from Amazon for my birthday, so I assumed that I would receive it shortly after the release date. It was not fated to be, however, as Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday passed without Amazon updating my order page. How it mocked me! The very absence of a shipping confirmation was a canker on my soul. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit errm, overblown… At the very least, I was annoyed.

The Plan

I’m sorry to report that my impatience got the better of me. I strolled into the B&N Saturday afternoon, hoping to find said tome as the filthy bunch of fiends that run the Amazon shipping department had not seen fit to send it on its expected ship date. I headed to the Humor section, traditional repository of illustrated humor and was rebuffed by cold reality. In vain did I search for the book among the Adams, Amends, Larsons and Conleys. I even looked between the detestable Davises and Macgruders, and all was for naught.
Despondent, I hatched a plan, a “Hail Mary” – I would check the “Graphic Novel” section, in case some Philistine in stockboy clothes had decided to drop AotBR amongst the Sin City compendiums and tomes of DC lore, adjacent to every poorly-translated Ranma 1/2 and Dragon Ball manga known to English-speaking audiences. And lo!, my efforts were rewarded, for some charlatan had spirited two copies of AotBR away into a safe hiding spot amogst the X-Men annuals. I briefly considered summoning the local constabulary but quickly realized that others might not take such offense at such wanton disregard for semantic purity. Plus, I don’t think they have a law against violating the Dewey Decimal system here in the Commonwealth.
In any event, I punished such misbehavior in the only fashion I knew how: I bought both copies forthwith. Hah! Now, the sluggards employed by their corporate masters will be forced to lug two additional copies to the floor and place them incorrectly as well. I highly advocate that any and all others that find themselves in an analogous situation do likewise.
Attached is photographic evidence of my grand act of retribution.
Penny Arcade books

The Payoff

The book itself is excellent. The pages are a heavy weight, high gloss paper, giving it a nice heft and the artwork looks clean and crisp (for the most part) on such high quality paper. It starts with an introduction by Bill Amend (of Foxtrot fame) and a brief intro by “Tycho” (Jerry Holkins), after which it jumps right in to the comics themselves. The comics are presented in chronological order and mark off a two-and-a-half year period, from the very beginnings of the site to the end of the year 2000. Each page contains two comics and a brief paragraph or two of color commentary from Tycho which give a sort of “director’s commentary track” feel to the whole affair.
I found the trip down memory lane that the book represents to be highly amusing and I found myself laughing as I read many of the comics anew.
For fans of Penny Arcade, this book is a must-have. For the uninitiated, though, I must warn you: PA is not for the weak-stomached. The language is coarse almost to the point of absurdity, the subject matter routinely juvenile (at best) and crude. If you can get past that, though, you’ll truly have a gem on your hands.
A small note in closing: the cover rather prominently portrays this book as “Volume 1”, hinting at further compendia of Penny Arcade comics whose existence the Thinkgeek product page confirms: “Look out for Penny Arcade Volume Two: Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings, later this year!”. I’m already rubbing my hands in anticipation.