I’m going to kind of quickly break down book-by-book, all of which CAN stand alone, but if you want the gist, like why these books are worth your time, skip to the last paragraph.
Wong cut his writer teeth writing hilarious internet comedy most notably on pointlesswasteoftime.com, which is now cracked.com, where Wong is Editor in Chief. This is to say that his novel-writing style is just as ADD friendly as one might expect from an origin as such. So these books move FAST. It’s only after stopping to look behind you in the bloody wake of dong-laden catastrophes that you realize how ornate and practical and beautiful the storylines are, much of which I won’t talk about. But here are other things:
So in John Dies at the End David and John take this sentient, Symbiote-like drug called Soy Sauce, which does A LOT of things- there really are no limits to what it does, though what it wants is a constant mystery. Seems like it’s pretty good shit though. John Dies whips along episodically as Dave and John battle meat-monsters, cockroach men, and the validation of existential dread and cosmic fragility.
This Book Is Full of Spiders, Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It is more or less a zombie story, parasite style. This is one complete story as opposed to separate, loosely-related incidents. It deals with corrupt military, quarantine escape, and of course, the validation of existential dread and cosmic fragility. Yay! They brought it back!!
What the Hell Did I Just Read is the most recent (October, 2017) installation of the John and Dave stories. It deals with an illusion projecting, super camouflaging “fuckroaches” that attempt to saturate our dimension in order to eventually… ugh, like humans learning to walk on their arms and legs after they’re severed at the knees and elbows would be the LEAST of our first-world problems. Yeah.
The characters are perfectly balanced: Amy: supersmart badass, empathetic as hell. John: Nihilistic hedonist, uses puns while killing monsters. David: Please, just wants to nap without waking up to demons tea-bagging forehead.
What makes these books such sweet little gems, though, is not only are the storylines and baddies grotesque, they’re EXISTENTIALLY grotesque. Wong has an unparalleled ability to lace his monster stories and poop jokes and dick puns with philosophical profundity, which can really creep in and alter the way you walk to your car at night or the way you look at a clown painting at an antique shop. Also, a SPOT ON/brutal/actually encouraging description of Depression at the end of What The Hell. There’s a sort of slimy poetry to it all*****.
*As in, this is all you really NEED to know.
** I just type things, not a review in the academic sense. Blugh, could you imagine?
*** Actually named Jason Pargin
****Might not end at the three, time will tell.
***** “It all” meaning the books, and also literally everything.