Okay, I know what you’re thinking; a giant vibrator with the words “Big Loser” along its side is not what you expect to see on the cover of a graphic novel. Stunning? Yes. Provocative? You bet. Another sign of the decline of human civilization? Wait until you turn to page fourteen. With bold lettering in the upper left corner of Volume One, Stan Yan prepares his readers with the phrase “Mature Use Only,” and perhaps more aptly on his second volume, “For Immature Adult Readers.” This definitely isn’t a series for the young – or weak - at heart.
Wang, just barely graduating college, must face the “real world.” But his real world resembles one of the raunchier Jerry Springer shows that were too spicy to run on regular cable. After his last college exam, he stumbles upon his mother and girlfriend in bed. Feel free to insert your own Freudian joke. Meanwhile, his employment at Robin Deblynde Investments, where the greatest sin is telling the truth, seems sketchier by the moment. Worst of all, he can’t even buy an Eskimo Pie without being accosted by someone who wants to rope him into a soap-selling pyramid scheme. When Wang finally does meet a new girl, she tries to rope him into a cult-like seminar group - and that’s just the first volume.
The second volume finds Wang elated over the breakup of his mom and his ex-girlfriend, and seeking advice from his college friend, George, whose great wisdom has been obtained via osmosis from the girls he bedded in college. When not having nightmares about his obligations to protect his ex-girlfriend’s sex toys from her parents in case anything should ever happen to her, Wang seeks out his father, to whom his mother has not spoken since before Wang’s birth. He is also trying to sell horrendous stock to kind old ladies but, alas, he can’t even do that.
Yan proves hilarious in his unflinching ability to be outrageous and go places most others would fear to tread. As outrageous as his adventures may seem, we have all heard anecdotes or even experienced aspects of Wang’s tale that make him easy to relate to. The other extremity of Yan’s humor comes in the form of Wang’s imagination. His idle fantasies and nightmares are the true hypothetical questions we all experience when under duress. Yan masterfully depicts the human psyche (and the sometimes asinine way we obsess over things). Yan’s full use of humor also proves delightful as he crams humor into names (such as Dot Kamm and Ernest Mann), requiring thorough examination of many panels to pick up on all the hidden jokes.
With the loose outline of a plot, one can follow Wang as he stumbles into the real world while laughing uproariously at the crazy predicaments he lands himself in. Reader be warned, The Wang will make you laugh if you let your guard down.