There are five CDs by Joe Canzano (under various stage names) available and now they have been joined by Magno Girl, a work of fiction. All are idiosyncratic, humorous and anti-establishment while also having what Ry Cooder calls a ‘commercial thrust’ which brings focus and accessibility.
Perhaps this book is best described as a prose cartoon. A sizeable cast of superheroes, super-villains and mere mortals play out their roles in carefully timed comical confrontations in front of mass crowds and an avaricious media. References to stylized versions of martial arts and witchcraft are frequent.
At a certain point, about halfway through, the story finds its focus and its central theme emerges: a plot to drug the population with ‘fooki’, a herb which causes whoever eats it to crave retail goods. Another topic which often pops up is motherhood, as portrayed in the constantly guilt-mongering but ultimately loyal character of Connie, Magnolia’s mum.
Joe Canzano is a didactic artist whose style is brash but skilful. It takes the reader a while to get the point of ‘Magno Girl’ but the last few chapters are well-paced and consistently impressive as the spectacular visuals of the final absurd battle are effectively and entertainingly described.