Title Thumbnail

Mr. Negativity

And Other Tales of Supernatural Law

Batton Lash

Exhibit A Press
In 1979, Lash created the comic strip Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, about two attorneys specializing in cases dealing with supernatural matters. Unlike Wolfram & Hart, the law firm with a similar clientele on the TV show Angel, Alanna Wolff and her partner, Jeff Byrd, have always been on the good guys' side, and their exploits are comedies. Over time, Wolff and Byrd have migrated from one comics venue to another, and now star in their own comic book, Supernatural Law, from which the stories were collected for this paperback. The stories aren't laugh-out-loud funny, but instead deal in quiet, gentle whimsy. The appealingly cartoony art maintains a light tone even in the more morbid scenes; the firm's secretary looks as if she grew up in Archie's Riverdale. Lash is overly fond of some of comics' and soap opera's kitschier clichEs. His characterizations tend to be one-dimensional; Wolff and Byrd have little personality and function as the straight men to a supporting cast of eccentrics. What's most impressive about this book are the inventive concepts. In the title story, a man with an obsessively negative attitude visually transforms into a photo-negative version of himself. Lash parodies pop culture targets ranging from Stephen King and Harry Potter to other comics. The high point is a satire on Dave Sim's Cerebus comics, which should delight even readers unfamiliar with the target. After a full quarter century, it's remarkable that Wolff and Byrd's saga still demonstrates such imaginative vitality.
Author Bio
Batton Lash was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he attended James Madison High School. He went on to study cartooning and graphic arts at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where his instructors included the legendary cartoonists Will Wisner and Harvey Kurtzman.