Picks and Pans Review: Fido Dido 101

updated 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Susan Rose and Joanna Ferrone

The animal and human characters in this New Wave comic book are more than bizarre; they're strange enough to be the relatives that the residents of The Far Side keep out of sight to avoid embarrassment because they're too weird. The book itself also embodies what's good and bad about modern comic art. The good part is its freedom of form, content and style. These drawings roam all over the page, while the text skitters about in a patter that's like a combination of absurdist prose and commercial slogans. Under a caption that says, "They made certain to define their relationship right from the start," semi-hero Fido Dido asks his girlfriend, Fido Doodles, "What's it all mean?" "Nothing," she answers. The bad part is that the jokes (comments? philosophizing? caterwauling?) are sometimes hard to track, so chaotic and sketchy does the design become. Still, Rose and Ferrone, two New Yorkers who are respectively an ad agency refugee and a photo-library owner, maintain a tone of hip banality that redeems most of the book. Fido is a likable sort of fellow in a good-for-nothing way and his dog, Fido's Fido, is broad-minded enough to try what is labeled as "ethnic food": a bowl of Meow Mix. And there is even an author's note at the end: "Remember to pick up a quart of milk on yer way home." (Pharos, paper, $5.95)

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