Lewis Carroll Goes Kaboom!

Charles Moss
Wonderland Without Alice: Writer-Artist Roger Langridge presents a tour-de-force vision of Lewis Carroll's Walrus and the Carpenter that is superbly entertaining for kids and sophisticated enough for adults.

This book is the comics you and I grew up on where once the story was over, there was still plenty of things to do to keep you entertained. You don’t see much of that anymore in kid-friendly comics.

Snarked #0

Publisher: BOOM! Studios/ Kaboom
Length: 22 pages
Writer: Roger Langridge
Price: $1
Publication Date: 2011-08
“The Walrus and the Carpenter Walked on a mile or so, And then they rested on a rock Conveniently low: And all the little Oysters stood And waited in a row.”

-- Taken from Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

“I am the Walrus… Goo goo g’joob”

-- The Beatles, “I am the Walrus”

There are several ongoing arguments in literature, and in popculture in general, surrounding Lewis Carroll’s narrative poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. It goes like this: what do the Walrus and Carpenter characters represent? What does the story symbolize? And who of the two, the walrus or the carpenter, acted the most immorally? Could the Carpenter be an obvious reference to Jesus, and the Walrus with his girth a reference to the Buddha? And is this poem a deep meditation on religion's capacity to exploit its followers? Or, does the poem mean anything at all?

A little background: The poem appeared in Lewis Carroll’s 1871 classic children’s book Through the Looking Glass, recited by Tweedledee and Tweedledum to Alice. The Walrus and the Carpenter are walking along a beach one night (both sun and moon are visible) and happen upon a bed of oysters. The Walrus and the Carpenter invite four of them to join them on their walk with the intention of eating them. Many more follow, with the disapproval of the eldest oyster. By the end of the poem, the oysters are eaten. After hearing the story, Alice tries to decide which of the two main characters is more sympathetic but cannot make up her mind, thus igniting philosophical and sometimes comedic disputes for years to come.

The poem, of course, is most famously known as the inspiration for John Lennon’s nonsensical masterpiece “I Am the Walrus”, and has been referenced in dozens of other media forays, including Kevin Smith’s 1999 film, Dogma.

Now, Kaboom Studios makes the tale its own with Snarked #0. Harvey Award Winner Roger Langridge of Thor: The Mighty Avenger and Kaboom’s own The Muppet Show has both written and drawn a satire upon satire with Carroll’s controversial and beloved characters.

In an 8-page prelude coming out in August, Snarked #0 introduces its readers to the walrus, who goes by Wilburforce J. Walrus and his bumbling sidekick, Clyde McDunk, the carpenter. The premise of the story is simple: the two characters, who seem to be both lazy and poor, try to con their way into getting food, finding themselves posing as Princess Scarlett’s ballet instructors to get into the castle and fill their bellies. The reader is left with a bit of a cliffhanger, enticing us to come back for issue #1, which will be released in October.

The story is meant to be both for kids and adults, just like the original Alice books. Langridge’s humor is clever enough for children to comprehend while still managing to land a few zingers with the adults. Langridge deftly manages several nods to Carroll’s classic poem but also manages to create funny new characters and settings.

Besides the story, the original version of “The Walrus and the Carpenter” is included in its entirety in the bonus pages of the comic, along with Langridge’s own parody version. Also included are games and puzzles, a mock “letters from readers” and a fictional newspaper as well as a sort of “making of” feature.

Because of the activities pages in the back of the comic, not to mention the completely generous selling price of $1, this book reminds me of the comics I grew up on where once the story was over, there was still plenty of things to do to keep you entertained. You don’t see much of that anymore in kid-friendly comics.

The title of the comic references another of Carroll’s nonsense poems, “The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in 8 Fits)”, about a crew on a voyage searching for a nonexistent creature. This is a purely poetic move on Langridge's part that not only heightens the impact of his own creativity, but opens the world of Lewis Carroll to new readers and to those who may wish to return. So, the argument continues, with perhaps one last, burning question: who gets snarked?






The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.