Kasper Hauser's Sky Maul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane

Readings

Kasper Hauser's Sky Maul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane

St. Martin's Griffin, 128 pp., $14.95 (paper)

We've all been there – colossally bored on a long-distance flight – finished with whatever diversions we've brought, when our fingers reach out to SkyMall, the junky onflight catalog. Pointless consumerism, sentimental knickknacks and geegaws, bizarre movie tie-ins, all in a glossy package that invites reality-show-style enthrallment disguised as moral superiority. Is there anything more American? How could anything be more of a parody of itself?

The Kasper Hauser Comedy Group, a quartet of comedians from San Francisco, have managed just that – a satire of one of our stupidest cultural touchstones. With a wicked sense of the absurd and a pitch-perfect ear for both perky ad copy and the voices of desperate loners and weirdos, Sky Maul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane has every twisted item that the real catalog should stock. Where else could you buy a commemorative Black Power fist from the Mexico City Olympics, rendered in white chocolate (the accompanying photo is of a Caucasian's hand)? Or a tube of Christian Over-the-Clothes Massage Lotion? A child's night-light depicting Hitler turning into a werewolf? Even better are the items that open up narratives into the lives of their potential buyers, such as the Divorced Dad "Pancake Time" Trumpet or a taped series of motivational lectures delivered by a gentleman who turns out to be a PCP-addled psychopath.

Like recent compendiums put out by The Onion, Sky Maul is a social book, destined to be shared and handed around at gatherings. The spot-on layout and design, along with the endlessly inventive products, assure that the book is guaranteed to become a minor comedy classic. It'd also make a perfect holiday gift for your comedic-minded friends – and, fortunately, you don't have to order from a plane to buy a copy.

READ MORE
More Book Reviews
Big, Beautiful Books
Big, Beautiful Books
Adorn your coffeetables with these hardbound masterpieces

Monica Riese, Dec. 13, 2013

Nonfiction and Memoir
Nonfiction and Memoir
Justin St. Germain, Stephen Harrigan, and more delight with these true tomes

Oct. 25, 2013

More by Shannon McCormick
Boxing the Giant: 'Andre the Giant: Life and Legend'
Boxing the Giant: 'Andre the Giant: Life and Legend'
Box Brown debuts the graphic biography at Austin Books and Comics

May 6, 2014

Hey, Adults! Comics! Comics that are Funny, Weird, and Profound!
Hey, Adults! Comics! Comics that are Funny, Weird, and Profound!
Reviewed: New School, Superzelda, My Dirty Dumb Eyes

Sept. 2, 2013

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, SXSW Daily Edition

Our latest from SXSW 2016, delivered March 11-20

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways