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This collection will introduce legions of Onion guzzlers to a delightful cartoon, which even at its peak ran in only a few dozen college newspapers. Here's the concept: We're reading the daily diary of a young man named Jim, whose life is pretty much unbroken by significant events. Dikkers' bold-lined drawings are exactly as detailed as they need to be -- which is to say, not very.
So what's there? A little fuzz-haired guy with stick legs and no mouth who goes to college; works at McDonald's, a copy shop, a grocery and a bookstore; and has a roommate (the hyper Tony), a pal (Steve, whose jokes in a deliberately jokeless strip are necessarily lame), a girlfriend or something (Ruth, twice Jim's size, perpetual smiley face) and a cat (Mr. Peterson, who comes losest to being Jim's soul mate). All the while, he narrates with remarks so dry they float off afterward like tumbleweeds: "When it was over we turned off the TV, sat around and didn't say much of anything."
Dikkers slips in a few straight essays between his protagonist's (nominal) phases, explaining how he used anti-humor to parody a genre he'd never really liked and noting that Jim is a Taoist slacker whose observations resemble Camus'. But you need neither a higher consciousness nor irony specs to find pleasure in Jim's Journal. Except for a jarring plot development near the end of the strip's run, Jim's serene unchangingness is hypnotic, clever, poignant, sublime and, oddly enough, funny.