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The Very Ineffective Haunted House Paperback – 29 May 2018
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"Like Lloyd Kaufman and Sam Raimi's mutant offspring."
"If Chuck Klosterman raised a child on Jack Kerouac, Star Trek and comic books, that kid would be Jeff Burk. Original stuff that is sure to turn heads for fans of any literary genres."
"Jeff Burk writes some awesome shit. Just read it."
-Carlton Mellick III
“Jeff Burk watches too much TV.”
-Chester Knebel, head animator for SUPERJAIL Season 1.
"Reminiscent of a modern William Faulkner."
-Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and creator of The Toxic Avenger
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The title tale is oddly both demented and sweet, when the ghost of someone who wanted to be an artist (but wasn’t a very good one) finds himself haunting an unfamiliar house. Having little in the way of personal memories, drawing mainly upon what he recalls from the movies, he sets out with the best of spooky intentions once the nice young family moves in. Except, it turns out, he’s not very good at haunting either … embarrassing, especially when his house is right down the street from a certain God of Hungry Walls (in-joke, see Cook, Garrett). A smattering of illustrations accompany the whimsical recounting; I particularly like the pic of the cat.
Cats, btw, do tend to feature prominently in Burk’s work; he’s a crazy cat person in good standing. The second story, revealed in the notes to have been drawn from a dream, is an autobiographical peek into his everyday life … well, until “The Window That Shouldn’t Be There” makes an appearance. You’ll get to see his house and garden, meet the housemates, the girlfriend, the many cats.
You’ll also find a Clickers story from the J.F. Gonzalez tribute anthology, a sideways look at the possible effects of drug use, a decidedly left-handed nod to GG Allin, possessed household appliances, a weird tattoo infestation, a Lynchian easter-egg hipster hunt, some unusual tentacle porn (wait, there’s usual tentacle porn?), and more.
“The Dog Who Stared” is probably my personal fave of the batch, even if it’s about a dog instead of a cat. We’ve all known those pets who stare at things we can’t see; in this one, a cultish following forms around one, to the confusion of its owners.
Burk’s main strength here, aside from his innate sense of fun and playfulness, is in taking a wry but astute look at many aspects of modern society. From bronies and collectors/collectibles to click-bait articles and the punk scene, the absurdity is all around us.
Also, the essay “Mother[bleep]ing Dinosaurs: An Ode to Dinosaurs Attack!”? Totally true. I even have a whole set thanks to him.
I sat with a stupid smile on my face the entire time reading it.