Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Review: Dungeons & Drag Queens by MP Johnson

Dungeons & Drag Queens by MP Johnson

Paperback, 150 pages

Published April 2014 by Eraserhead Press

Literary Awards: Wonderland Book Award - Best novel

This novel is set partly in a strange and totally bizarro land, so weird that it is like nowhere else on this earth. The author of this novel grew-up in this realm known as Green Bay Wisconsin. MP Johnson is a one in a million person/ author who grew-up a punk rocker and an aspiring drag-queen in this small town that is known as the Vatican city for american football. It was worthy of winning the wonderland award for the best novel because it is personal and empowering.

Johnson is a talented writer, and has been for a long time, even early in his career when he was prolifically releasing his zine freak tension or writing for the well known punk zine razorcake. I first discovered his work when he submmitted a short story to an anthology I co-edited called the Vault of Punk Horror. This was pre-bizarro movement, but the story (Gone to Seed) while closer to mainstream horror was crazy weird enough to get my attention.

With this novel Johnson is getting well deserved praise. The story of SLeazella La Ruse, Green Bay's top Drag Queen who is pulled by a wizard into a high fantasy realm. You see the wizard was looking for a super glamorous queen for his king and really who is more glam than Sleazella? The only problem is the proposed future queen has a dick. Once there she hooks up with warrior women Blada Femma, and that leads to an amazing training sequence.

This is high concept Bizarro that really delivers on the concept while telling an important story. Only Johnson could have brought the quality story telling and sensitive portrayal to it. You see this author is not tourist, I think that is important. this book developed an audience already but it deserves a bigger one. If I have any complaints with the book is it's short length, I almost never say this but another 50 pages or would have helped the story breathe a little.

Word is Johnson is working on a sequel. Can't wait.

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