Full Title: Eddy Deco’s Last Caper An Illustrated Mystery
Author: Gahan Wilson
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (1st ed), 1987; Random House Value Publishing, 1989
You’ve probably seen his cartoons around. They’ve appeared everywhere. They’re usually dark and morbid; they are ‘badly’ drawn; they often involve monsters and aliens. They make frequent appearances in Science Fiction magazines and collections. His work has appeared in Playboy, Collier's Weekly, and The New Yorker, and his cartoon strip Nuts appeared in National Lampoon. He’s comparable to Charles Addams, but with less artistic talent. He’s one of my favorite cartoonists.
He’s also written some novels and short stories. Some of them very good, but unless you’re a fan, you’ll probably never see one.
Eddy Deco’s Last Caper
I loved Everybody's Favorite Duck, so I was excited to find Eddy Deco in my new local library. But I was disappointed – Eddy is nothing like so good as Duck. Ah well, such is life. Read on.
As stated above this is a mystery – specifically, a detective novel. Eddy Deco is your standard hardboiled private eye, although he lives in a rather more wacky universe than we do. In this last caper he will be dealing with a thing (waiting in his hallway to speak to him), a evil elevator, an old friend who has been turned into a brain in a vat, opium dens, mobsters, aliens, decapitated chinamen, torture chambers, and quite a few other complications.
The main gimmick of the book is that the illustrations are part of the story; if you don’t keep up with what is going on in the drawings, you wont know what is going on. Gahan doesn’t write ”The man pulled a gun on me”, he just draws a man pointing a gun at the reader. It takes a little while to get used to, but it’s fun. At times it can be a little difficult figuring out what you’re seeing, but you probably wouldn’t be reading this book unless you already knew and liked his art.
That said, this isn’t his best art. I would have preferred flipping through one of his comics collections. And despite the large number of Wilsonesque monsters, characters, and situations stuffed into the book, it didn’t draw me in to the world as much as I have come to expect from his other works.
The story is nothing too special; Eddy Deco is given a case; he keeps coming across random clues and being distracted, so that you’re never sure which case he’s working on. In the end, everything makes sense, but not in an exciting, “Oh, now I understand!” way. It’s a fast action book, and would probably do better as a movie.
One last observation: it’s short. 213 pages long, and about half of that is illustrations. I had no trouble finishing it in one sitting.
Not a very good book review is it? I’m sorry – I don’t really know what to say about this book, except that you really shouldn’t bother with it unless you’re already a G. Wilson fan. And even then, while it is worth reading, don’t expect too much.