In Boxer's (In the Floyd Archives, 2001) satirical graphic-novel sequel, a group of animals searches for a new psychoanalyst after Freudian Dr. Floyd abandons them.
Bunnyman, Mr. Wolfman, Rat Ma'am, and Lambskin are all former patients of Dr. Floyd. Sadly, the bird psychoanalyst has flown away and left the four in the woods, their therapy incomplete. Rat Ma'am suggests performing a sacrifice or burning an effigy of Dr. Floyd, which eventually becomes a much tamer "weenie roast." For more structure, the group may simply need, as Rat Ma'am puts it, "a really watchful psychoanalyst." Bunnyman, who has an Oedipal complex, nominates Lambskin, his surrogate mother, whose wool he often gingerly strokes. Kids' games, such as the titular "Mother May I?" become the animals' new form of therapy. But when that's not enough, Lambskin produces a little black sheep from her pocket: Melanin Klein. Melanin treats Bunnyman, Mr. Wolfman, and Rat Ma'am as her children—and treats her kids as patients, including kids from her own pocket: Melittle Little, Little Hans, and Squiggle Piggle. Her brand of psychoanalysis is decidedly different than Dr. Floyd's; for instance, she believes that everyone, even her children, is "strangely attracted" to her. But, with luck, Melanin will still be able to help the neurotic animals. Boxer's previous book spoofed Sigmund Freud, but this follow-up concentrates primarily on psychoanalysts Melanie Klein and D.W. Winnicott. The delightful story is generally surreal, with objects appearing out of nowhere (such as a toy train) and Bunnyman having apparent hallucinations involving Dr. Floyd. Nevertheless, the comedy is abundant and perhaps best appreciated after perusing the author's historical notes at the end. For example, Melanin asks the animals to create squiggles out of Squiggle Piggle's pliable tail, which, Boxer explains, is based on a therapeutic drawing game that Winnicott created for kids. As in her preceding book, Boxer offers clear, simple artwork that suitably resembles children's drawings, and it includes moments of praiseworthy visual humor, such as Rat Ma'am pointing to her own thought balloon: "Those are my little black thoughts."
A kooky and witty illustrated tale that's full of intelligence and educational value.