BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “The Illustrated Al” by “Weird Al” Yankovic.

I have been a fan of “Weird Al” Yankovic since the early 1980s, after hearing him on the weekly-syndicated radio show, The Dr. Demento Show. I now have all of his albums, a handful of collectibles, books, DVDs, and I have seen him perform live multiple times. In fact, the last time I saw him, I was even able to meet him. He is one musical artist that has never disappointed me. In fact, his career has outlived the careers of many people he has parodied. When I heard that “The Illustrated Al: The Songs of “Weird Al” Yankovic” was available for pre-order, I immediately added it to my cart.

The latest book by “Weird Al” is called “The Illustrated Al” and like everything Al touches, is a lot of fun. Basically, this book is some of Al’s original music, in cartoon form. Z2 has gathered some of the top living cartoonists to express Al’s “Yankovisions” visually within this book’s pages. The great Al-merican songbook features 20+ classic songs interpreted by such artists as Drew Friedman, Mike & Laura Allred, Bill Plympton, Aaron Augenblick, Peter Bagge, Sam Viviano, Steve Chanks, Danny Hellman, Felipe Sobreiro, Gideon Kendall, Michael Kupperman, Wes Hargis and many more!

In these 208 pages feature a lot of artwork that is right up Al’s alley. The style varies from song to song, but it is all fun to look at. Think of an issue of MAD magazine dedicated to the Weird one. In addition to the songs, there is additional art throughout in tribute form to some of Al’s greatest hits.

“It’s such an incredible honor to see my song lyrics brought to life by some of my all-time favorite cartoonists and illustrators,” Yankovic said in a press statement. “I’ve actually been playing the long game—the only reason I spent four decades in the music business is so that one day I could have my very own graphic novel.”

THE ILLUSTRATED AL: The Songs of “Weird Al” Yankovic alternate cover.

Josh Bernstein of Z2 Comics added: “I don’t remember a time in my life before ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and, frankly, I don’t want to. His music, lyrics, artistry, and humor have been a constant influence in my career. Having Z2 assemble this all-star roster of the greatest living cartoonists to collaborate with Weird Al has been a dream come true. I hope both new and long-time Al-fanatics appreciate the love, care, and insane art that is going into this project. As always, we dare to be stupid.”

The Illustrated Al” can be enjoyed as is but even better, put the actual songs on as you read through! It was great doing this to the song “Hardware Store,” finally getting to see exactly what Al is saying describing what the store has. At the time of this writing, four days after this book came out, it is already out-of-stock on Amazon. Hopefully they re-stock soon as you do not want to miss this treasure!

Don’t forget to read other entries in my BASEMENT BOOK SHELF series!

~David Albaugh

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