I am embarrassed to say that, on a regular basis, Mr. Broke Hoedown recommends fabulous books to me, and I set them aside for years, or never read them at all. Well, yesterday I finally got my act together to read a graphic novel he’d been suggesting for ages: Three Fingers, by Rich Koslowski. And I’m so glad I did! It was a quick read, very satisfying, and completely in keeping with my personal aesthetic. It did make me squirm a bit here and there…but in a very good way.
This is not a book for the faint of heart, nor the easily offended. It’s not particularly violent, graphic, or politically controversial…it offends the basic sensibility of the generic Disney fan by skewering and satirizing the early days of animation, and in particular Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney (Rickey Rat and Dizzy Walters in the book, respectively). The parallels are not always direct; there were a few times in the early pages that I winced, wanting the parody to mirror Disney history a little more closely. But after the opening pages, after the basic set-up and history, the plot line takes such a broad and intriguing turn that none of those details matter anymore.
Told in documentary style, it imagines a world much like that of Roger Rabbit, but with a dark edge, where toons are very much real, and vulnerable to certain types of exploitation. It alludes to disturbing possibilities, glancing only long enough to get into your head, never going for the gratuitous shock value. The art is wonderful, and appropriately rough in spots, as you can see in the sample pages in Google Books. And Mickey’s by far not the only cartoon character featured; a few other Disney characters show up, but there’s perhaps even a larger number of Warner Brothers and other animation houses’ characters.
Three Fingers isn’t for everyone. But for some of us, it’s perfect.