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You're going to flip over the latest edition to GoComics. And no, that's not just hyperbole.

Introducing The Upside Down World of Gustave Verbeek, a collection of turn-of-the-last-century comic book innovation rife with 180-degree storytelling and good ol' fashioned cartoon nonsense.

The comic's ability to be read in every direction and convey multiple meanings it's no surprise, Verbeek's style was a synthesis of several literary and artistic traditions. The artist was born in, and spent his childhood in Japan, the son of a Belgian missionary and his French wife. He went on to study art in Paris before relocating to the United States in 1900 at the age of 33, and it wasn't long before he started creating comics for several prominent publications, including the New York Herald, where he created multiple comic series over the course of about a decade.

TUDWOGV (what an acronym!) consists of the complete run of Verbeek's original series The Upside Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo (1903-1905), a series read in a two-part sequence. First readers absorb what's on the page read in the usual left-to-right, top-to-bottom order, before turning the comic 180 degrees and continuing all the way through to absorb the expertly-cartooned conclusion. They're the same six panels, but drawn and lettered to display a completely different set of details when turned, well, upside down. Since it's not always convenient to do yoga headstands or to flip your desktop computer (and smartphones and tablets tend to reorient themselves), the GoComics version of these strips does the flipping for you -- stacking both versions of the comic for a seamless reading experience as seen in other Sunday Press titles on GC.

The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek will update thrice per week, with two The Upside-Downs installments and one alternate Verbeek comic from his Looney Lyrics of Lulu (1910) and Terrors of the Tiny Tads (1906-1914) series. No matter which series this anthology-style presentation displays, you can be sure these newspaper and magazine restorations are being served in chronological order. You won't be able to smell the spirit of the age, but you will be able to see it like never before.

Though all of Verbeek's historic works continue to entertain more than 100 years later, my personal favorite is Tiny Tads, which is basically spritely Smurf kids killing and eating incidental mashed-up Pokemon for no apparent reason. But you don't have to take my ghoulish word for it, start reading The Upside Down World of Gustave Verbeek today!

 

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