Each page of San Francisco native Dan Celli’s Sir, Is This Where I Catch the Cellitoons? contains a single-panel cartoon, often an illustration of a pun or a literalism. For example:
– A blind woman says to the blind man sitting across the table from her, “Glenn, I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
– A half a man standing in the doorway says to the man inside, “Tim, Hi, I’m your long-lost half brother.”
– A baby stands on a surfboard on top of a car with a sign in the window that reads “Baby on board.”
Readers who love this kind of illustrated wordplay may find some drawings to like here. But even those attracted to this kind of humor are likely to find that only a few of the more than 100 cartoons in this collection are genuinely funny (for example, the legend on Nostradamus’ tombstone that reads: “I knew this would happen.”); a number of others are mildly amusing, but, unfortunately, most are likely to provoke nothing more than groans of displeasure or baffled head-scratching.
Celli’s drawings are flat, spare and simple at their best. At their worst, they are awkward and amateurish. That in itself wouldn’t necessarily be fatal; a number of very good cartoonists, such as the New Yorker’s Roz Chast or the Washington Post’s Tom Toles, don’t create stunning pictures. But too many of Celli’s cartoons combine poor drawings with lame, obvious, and all-too-often incomprehensible gags. (Three women are talking over coffee. One says, “Why do men have nipples. It makes no sense. They can’t nurse a baby. They’re (sic) nipples are useless.” Second woman responds, “Oh, well, men are stupid anyway.”)
In sum, this book might make a nice gift for family members and friends who enjoy Celli’s humor, but there simply are too few bright spots in this collection to recommend it to a wider audience.
Also available in ebook and hardcover.