Wish For Something Better is a book released in November 2001 by Sam Brown, creator of Explodingdog and 1000 Robots. It's 6.5 inches square and a half inch thick, making it convenient to carry around, but the flat square shape of it makes it look more respectable on a coffee table, not like a regular paperback. It's got a beautiful glossy cover, completely free from text, with an illustration that wraps around the spine to the back cover, of a man releasing an enormous cloud of butterflies from a jar. The 220-page interior is printed on nice, smooth #80 paper, and the printing itself is fantastic, bright and smooth without a hint of pixelation despite the likely digital origin of the drawings.
The contents of the book is twelve illustrated stories in the style of Explodingdog - that is, they feature people with stick limbs, triangular smock-bodies, scribbled circles for eyes, and mouths that stretch the width of their round heads, who are nonetheless capable of expressing a wealth of emotion with just a few changes in the angles of their face. Other characteristics typical of Wish For Something Better and Explodingdog are the wonderful perspective, color and composition that will occasionally show up in one of the drawings and stun you with how much Brown can pack into one of these little doodles.
The pages of the book are not all illustrated - only the right-hand pages are illustrated, and the left pages are either used for text (hand-lettered, like the Explodingdog logo or the text that shows up in Explodingdog drawings occasionally) or not used at all. At the start of each story is a title page on a dark yellow/brown color, facing a blank page of the same color. So out of the 220 pages, only around a hundred of them are illustrations. Below, my page counts will be including the facing pages to the illustrations, whether or not they have text, but not including the title pages and their facing pages.
The stories are as follows:
1. Our Time On The Moon: 82 pages
A couple leaves Earth in search of a Moon Monster (The standard green, toothy Explodingdog monster). They land on Luna, don goggles, and explore a cave - and discover a startling secret.
2. A Little Magic: 8 pages
A fellow who was careless with his knife discovers there's only one way to repair what he's done.
3. Going To Work: 8 pages
A worker in a 1984-esque office ponders his coworker's solution to the tedium of their assignments.
4. Back To Work: 2 pages
A man with a much more interesting job, perhaps.
5. You Don't Love Me: 16 pages
One guy's sad story of what he wished he could tell us all.
6. Making The World A Better Place: 2 pages
...in the simplest way one can.
7. My Failure As A Superhero: 10 pages
Self-explanatory, really, but it must be seen to get the full effect. It's exactly what the title says, but the illustrations are quite amusing.
8. The World Tilted: 4 pages
The world tilts, ever so slightly, and we see some of those affected by it.
9. Finding Out What Is Under The Snow: 6 pages
Like My Failure..., it's exactly what it says, but the illustrations are very well-composed. SPOILER: We don't actually find out what's under the snow. I hope for a sequel someday.
10. Saturday: 14 pages
A day in the life of a couple residing on a concrete block floating in space. This one gets me all emotional, it's really sad in a way.
11. Never Lonely: 4 pages
Apparantly, there's only one way to never be alone...
12. It Is A Robot Turtle: 26 pages
The maintenance of a noisy mechanical pet turns out to be more than its owners, or the turtle itself, can handle.
Wish For Something Better can be ordered from Sam Brown at Explodingdog, more specifically at:
for a cost of $30 U.S. plus $3 shipping. If you like Explodingdog, it's well worth it.