Toonbots review of Chopping Block

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Chopping Block: because serial killers are people, too. And because Lee Herold is a graphical genius and funny at the same time.

Get this. Lee Herold, the writer/producer/creator of Chopping Block, actually invented a new way of drawing to get the look he wanted for his one-panel toon. Instead of drawing with a pen, Lee actually covers his paper with Saran Wrap, cuts selected pieces out of the Saran Wrap, and uses a sponge to smear ink onto the exposed paper. The result? A streaky, dark, shadowy environment, perfect for Butch, center of his own universe.

When first I found Chopping Block, I really didn't expect to like it. It did help that I liked Lee from casual acquaintance on the message boards at BoxJam's Doodle. But the idea of a "hero" who is a serial killer was off-putting.

So I didn't expect much, especially given that Lee's format is a one-panel, gag-a-day strip. But I dutifully started at the start of his archive, and within the first couple of weeks' worth, I realized that Lee is truly a genius. Butch is perfect, the format is perfect, the artwork is perfect, and the writing is perfect. I fully expect that Lee will break into magazine publication for actual money at some point.

What's so hot about Butch? It's simple, I think. Butch is utterly and completely self-centered. His little "problem" with killing everyone he meets, from his point of view, is simply his normal workaday job. It's his art. And he has what is otherwise a completely normal life: he gets carpal tunnel from too much stabbing, he has to mow the lawn (and remember where the bodies are buried), he gets annoyed with the neighbors (um, heh, they were nice people while they lasted.) And he never, ever speaks. The lengthy caption on each panel is simply narration of the way Butch sees the world. He's not talking to you. You don't exist, for Butch. Nobody does. And yet he's sweet, in his way. He's understandable. Most of all, he's quite addictive.

Check out Chopping Block now!

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