Review by Frank Plowright
The premise is that Kaitlyn’s neglectful parents have provided her with a chimpanzee as a playmate in preference to parental love and attention. The chimp has been declawed, and is a seething mass of resentment. Despite it being male, Kaitlyn dresses the chimp in girls’ clothing and calls it Jennifer. All this makes it rather awkward when the chimp and Kaitlyn are transported back to the jungle.
A second outing for Ken Knudtsen’s innovative My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer is sadly in a reduced pocket sized format rather than full trade size like the first, and that’s symbolic as this selection of material doesn’t hit the same heights as the first. A freewheeling associative style previously present is extended to overwhelm any structure, so it’s one long hallucinogenic experience returning most characters from the previous book, but with far less repressed rage and outrage on Jennifer’s part. There’s also less effort taken with the art. Knudtsen’s good, so the art never descends to poor, but it lacks the imagination and detail of his first volume, and sequences are expanded to use space as on the sample page. That’s nevertheless funny, and much of this outing isn’t.
Overall, the feeling is of the books being published in the wrong order. Were this Knudtsen’s first book the review would be of the artistic talent, the offbeat ideas and the promise of work to come, but it’s his second, and the eighty or so story pages pass very rapidly, something acknowledged in the editorial material in the back. The same comment applies to that, with small blocks of text surrounded by great areas of white paper. In that Knudtsen’s talks about the difficulty of working at two jobs as well as creating comics, but as that’s the case, surely every page produced should count, and too many of these don’t.