SCHADENFREEZERS! - Sadism on a stick!

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SCHADENFREEZERS! by Jason Kreher and Matt Moore

Hardcover - $13.99 ($11.15 on Amazon)
Kindle - $10.37
Published by Adams Media
128 Pages

Way back when I was still an inexperienced wee reviewer, AAA Milwaukee reached out to me and asked me if I would be interested in reviewing their new trade paperback, ARSENIC LULLABIES.  I was surprised to be asked.  And once I read the book, I was even more surprised.  ARSENIC LULLABIES is unlike any other comic I had read before (or since, come to think about it).  It was an exercise in pushing the envelope of bad taste.  Bagels who happen to be Nazis sympathizers.  Starving Ethiopians.  Zombie fetuses.  A government agent who was willing to take a weed whacker to a trunk full of babies...for population control.  I actually felt a little dirty at how much I laughed reading this horrifying book.  But, it was damn entertaining.



Since then, I have been fortunate enough to get a lot of review copies of books and comics to check out.  None of them were quite as warped as ARSENIC LULLABIES.  But, I have to admit, SCHADENFREEZERS! comes awfully close.

SCHADENFREEZERS! is set up to resemble the popsicles we had as a kid where you see one half of a bad joke or riddle when you open the wrapper, and when the popsicle has melted or been eaten, you see the often lame punch line.  Kreher and Moore took this a step further...instead of a bad riddle, the answers to the jokes here are disturbing, often cruel.  The back cover of the book describes SCHADENFREEZERS! as "Sadism on a stick."  It's an apt description.

Why did the lifegaurd wear pants?  Because he was ashamed of his body.

What did the lion do after school?  Looked for a work for a while, then sort of gave up.

Why did the kitten fall asleep?  She isn't asleep, honey.  Sometimes not all the kittens make it outside their mommy.

Pretty much all of the jokes are designed to make the reader feel very uncomfortable.  Especially when you laugh, and then look around real quickly to make sure no one is seeing what you are laughing at.  As a fan of THE OFFICE, I love that mix of comedy and awkwardness where you are not quite sure it's okay to laugh.   There was a lot of moments like that when I was flipping through SCHADENFREEZERS!  My first read through was at my usual breakfast spot across the street from my job, and I kept wondering if I would ever be able to come back there again.

The design of this book is terrific. Each page features a melted popsicle often on a really cool background.  I actually found myself going through this book a few times, just because the melted popsicles created an incredibly artistic visual that I had never seen before. 

And the jokes were...well...funny is probably not the right word.  But, they were real well written, and they definitely had the desired impact of making the reader feel shocked and disturbed.  If nothing else, I was not able to predict a single punch line.  And just about every one landed on me like a ton of bricks.

My only real problem with this book was the cost.  $13.99 for 56 quick one line jokes.  I basically finished my first read through of this book in less than 5 minutes.  And a lot of that time was just because I had to stop a few times and re-read them because I couldn't believe someone had published that in a book.  That is how warped some of them were.  I did go back and read it two or three times, especially to admire how cool the art was, but if I had paid for the book, I would not feel that I got my money's worth.

In addition, a lot of the jokes can also be found for free on their website.  Actually, they are even cooler on the website because each image features a time lapse image of the popsicle melting.  And as the book admits, some of the ones of the website were deemed too offensive to publish.  To me, that makes it a very difficult selling point to get readers to shell out 14 bucks for a print version of something that works so much better online:

But those small things aside, I did think this was a real clever idea and very well executed.  The humor might not be for everyone, but if you are willing to allow a little discomfort into your life, SCHADENFREEZERS! is worth checking out.

3.5 / 5.0