Our foul mouthed, sadistic, nude, crackhead lagomorphs Phil and Tyrone have returned for a new adventure in “Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candy Land: Cock Fight”. Now say that aloud three times fast. It’s not much of a stretch to believe that it was Dean Rankine’s intention to twist your tongue with that mouthful of a title only to violate it with a dick joke in the end. If that wasn’t forced enough, the tone of this piece is set with the cringeworthy line: “I love cock! And what’s better than a cock? Two cocks! Yes, sir! Two hard cocks…” spoken by a decrepit Colonel Sanders. Naturally at this point we already know what’s going to happen next; the following page would show two chickens ready to fight to the death with the loser’s corpse fated to rest in a KFC bucket, revealing that the reader’s mind was in the gutter all along. HA. CLASSIC. Ah but no, Rankine follows that set-up with a comedic finesse that’s purely his own. Phil and Tyrone stand in the middle of an arena, “The Thunderhole”, their dangly bits exposed (as always) to the audience, facing a gigantic chicken in a luchador costume draped with a cape that says “Los Pollos Hermanos”. Whoa. I was not prepared for this level of randomness.
I’ll commend the art in this comic and it’s gross brand of humor which is heavily influenced by the same absurd and vibrant energy of ‘Klasky Csupo’ titles such as Ren & Stimpy but the main crutch of this comic is it’s heavy reliance upon pop culture references that really date the author as being behind the times. The cover of the comic is a send-off to the iconic “Major Kong rides the bomb” scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, the first character we meet is a fast food mascot welcoming us to “KFCF Illegal Cock Fight” where there’s a forced Breaking Bad reference in a gladiatorial arena with a name ripped off from Mad Max 3. Afterward, we meet cotton candy-picking slaves illustrated as crude versions of The Smurfs who the Itty Bitty Bunnies promise to help restore their freedom (cue Braveheart reference) then the fight is won with a Human Centipede technique and ends with a Scooby-Doo mask gag to tie everything together. Where I was extremely lost was with the introduction of The Ghost of Fredric Wertham, the outspoken critic of comic books during the 1950’s whose writings inspired the creation of the Comics Code. He condemns the violence in the previous copy of Itty Bitty Bunnies and then gets stabbed to ghost-death by Phil and Tyrone. There’s some sort of commentary trying to be made here, I guess. Whatever.
This comic tries extremely hard to muddle every frame with tasteless nonsense, losing any attempt at comedy along the way to the punchlines which fall flat. It’s unlikely to amuse the intended of audience of… wait, who is this made for exactly? The publishers don’t have an answer to that question since “IBBiRPCL:CF” was advertised as being “Adventure Time meets Ren & Stimpy” yet is too inappropriate for that age group and devoid of any constructive thought or substance. A reader who is familiar with Wertham, the history of comic book censorship and the Underground Comix movement would be well seasoned enough to see immediately that censorship is the very thing that this comic may need in order to find some sort of direction for the series to continue on. Here’s some advice in the voice of Tyrone channelling Tyler Durden through the words of Dean Rakine: “The first rule of Cock Fight is you do not talk about Cock Fight.”