Dean’s cartooning style is not easily described, but I certainly do love it. It’s one of those extreme, unique, impossible to replicate, styles that can only spring from a particular individual. Character profiles have both eyes on the facing side of the head, limbs only have joints in them to be polite while bending like rubber hoses, noses run the length of oversized heads, etc., etc. All this drawn with a wavy, kinetic line that refuses to ever be boring and straight.
Most of the content of this book is centred, quite unapologetically, around Dean’s philosophy of peace, love and non-violence, rooted pretty deeply in a healthy dose of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). For some people the philosophical stance alone would be enough to put them off, while the religious addition would seal that deal, but I know a lot of people who have read this and not had either bother them at all, and that’s as it should be. The fact of the matter is that the central themes of non-violent living are brilliantly portrayed here in the 24 pages, being told through sometimes funny, sometimes ironic, sometimes sad short stories, that all hit their mark pretty effortlessly. Dean takes his quirky art style and translates that into equally quirky shorts, presenting each one with heart and verve. Some are from his daily life and experiences, some are imaginatively concocted means to get a point across, while all being funny in some silly, gross or cartoony-horrific manner. Some pieces seem a little less finished than others though, being a hastily transcribed idea, but most are his fully fleshed-out, colourful, gorgeously ugly pages.
Sometimes I wonder if Dean is an underrated cartoonist, but I’m certain he’s under appreciated. I’m not sure where you can grab a copy of Full Metal Chicken for yourself, but there is a wealth of material to check out for free at the links above.