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Funny Books - Surfer Safari: The Tenth Sherman's Lagoon - Jim Toomey

BUY Surfer Safari (cover)
The Tenth Sherman's Lagoon Collection
Jim Toomey
Andrews McMeel Publishing 2005
127 pages

Surfer Safari, the Tenth Sherman's Lagoon Collection by comic strip artist Jim Toomey is new to me. Your local newspaper can't possibly print all the syndicated cartoons out there and mine does not feature the very weird sea life Toomey uses to tell his funny stories and observations about life. The very first panel in this latest collection of Sherman's Lagoon funnies was enough to get me interested, the rest of this collection got me hooked.

The first few pages of Surfer Safari feature Hawthorne the scam artist hermit crab setting up a handyman business even though he has all the skills of Tim the Toolman Taylor of Home Improvement. Other strips and panels feature the very human adventures and observations of the other Sherman's Lagoon characters such as main character Sherman, a not particularly bright but very hungry shark who loves to have the local folks over for lunch, his very understanding wife Megan --it is a rule in the world of comedy that a fairly dumb male is married to a good woman, Toomey does not derogate from that--, Fillmore the insecure turtle and friend Clayton, Thornton, the only bear who hibernates on a beach and the only bear who wears Bermudas, and a few other characters that Jim Toomey is able to have Sherman eat when he feels their storyline is over.

The fairly well-known though not always understood or applied by some daily comic artists secret to a good syndicated strip is you have to get many different kinds of readers to relate to the strip enough to want to check it out the next day. Toomey does that very well with Sherman's Lagoon. These are sea creatures with very human foibles and problems be it Sherman and wife Megan's marriage woes that are good for many relationship jokes or their having a baby, while Sherman and other characters take camping trips or find vacation traps in the Galapagos, unwanted houseguests and bad babysitters  for which Sherman has a very good and final solution--, and the occasional appearance of what Toomey calls hairless land apes.

Every reader of Surfer Safari, the tenth Sherman's Lagoon Collection by Jim Toomey, will have a personal favorite, a laugh out loud I would post it on the fridge or at work if it did not mean cutting it out of the book (and you know photocopying is illegal) panel. Mine is the second four-panel strip on page 121 where Sherman and Megan are playing Battleship, the shark version and it's brilliant, very dark, and hilarious punchline - You ate my snorkeler!

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