Two devils are hanging out in hell. One says to the other, "Still, I miss the seasons." A vaguely Afghan-looking figure does the Charleston on TV. "Oops!" says a viewer, "we bombed 'em back to the Jazz Age!" Of course these jokes are better with their simple line drawings, whose shabby modesty sets up the punch lines, but they can at least give you an idea of P.S. Mueller's twisted worldview, on full display in his new collection Your Belief System Is Shot: Cartoons and Stuff (Jones Books). The "stuff," smack-dab in the middle of the book, consists of four peculiar short-short stories that somehow are both silly and wise. Mueller got his first steady work from the Reader, and his strips have appeared in these pages for 25 years (the first ran on October 5, 1979; it involved two guys tossing lobsters at each other). He grew up in Linconshire, went to Loyola Academy in Wilmette and SIU, and now lives in Madison. Maybe it's a midwestern sensibility that fuels his deadpan, irreverent sense of humor. Says one dog to another on page 105: "What if the hand that feeds us is surprisingly tasty?" See Section 4 for the latest P.S. Mueller cartoon. Sun 11/28, 4 PM, Quimby's, 1854 W. North, 773-342-0910.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Deb Gottschalk.