Title: Please, Please Call Me to the Bishopric! BY Jett Atwood
Published: 2019, Number of Pages: 78, Paper bound
A mother sits on a pew nursing a baby while shushing a crying toddler. Next to them two tweens are strangling each other. A Toddler dives for the floor as a box of Cheerios flies all over. A father, burping a baby, witnesses all of this with a look of despair on his face while the title reads “Please, Please Call Me to the Bishopric!” Thus, readers are introduced to the brilliant work of cartoonist Jett Atwood. Atwood has been a cartoonist for Sunstone Magazine since 2004. Since that time her work has appeared in Sunstone over 220 times. This small paperback presents some of Atwood’s best work from her first 15 years in Sunstone.
“Please!” is small, about 6.5 by 7.5 inches and 78 pages long. This makes it the perfect size to sneak it into a church meeting inside your set of scriptures or maybe slipped into a dress or suit pocket. The compact volume contains 77 of Atwood’s funniest and most thought-provoking comics.
I loved every page of “Please”. It’s a little hard to review since there is not a comprehensive narrative or subject to address in the book, so I will choose several of my favorite comics from the book to tell you about with the hope that this will give you a feel for how fun and awesome Atwood’s style and work are.
Some of the comics in “Please!” are just plain fun, such as the panel of a shocked and pained Adam with a leaf on his groin who is watched over by a nonchalant Eve who states, “Quit complaining Adam. You’re the one who named it, ‘Poison Ivy’.” Other comic’s poke mild fun at LDS culture, such as one (that I am pretty sure is set on “Fast Sunday”) that depicts a man pointing at a sacrament tray that is being passed who asks, “Can you super-size that?” On the same theme of fun with Mormon culture is a comic of a young boy at a pulpit who declares that he is going to forget his memorized part in the Primary Program and, “stand frozen for a moment before I burst into tears.” If you want to laugh at Mormon folk doctrines, Atwood has that for you too. One panel has a boy and girl playing a game of checkers. The young lady is ahead 13 games to 1. The boy is losing the current game and whines, “If I was such a valiant general in the pre-mortal life, how come I’m so lousy at strategy now?” Also on the laughing block in “Please!” are Mormon celebrities such as Ken Jennings and Glenn Beck.
My favorite cartoons in “Please!” are the ones that make you both laugh and think as they challenge the inequities and problems that people experience in Mormon culture. One such comic has three young men and three young women on a pew. The Young man in the middle has a gloating look of triumph. The young woman in the middle, a look of contempt. At the pulpit a leader reads, “Upcoming activities: the young men will be going bungee jumping, river rafting, horseback riding, cliff diving, and earning their archery merit badges. The young women will be tying a quilt.” In another, Nephi is attempting to write on the gold plates. Sister Nephi, holding a screaming baby, points at the plates and exclaims, “You can quote most of Isaiah, but its too hard to engrave the name of your WIFE?” I’ll describe one more favorite. A group of young women are having a modesty lesson. The blackboard reads, “Your virtue is like a fresh peach.” A sister sitting at the back comments to her neighbor, “I wonder if they pass around a manhandled banana for young mens’ standards nights?” These are just a few samples of the greatness of Jett Atwood’s work.
There is an old joke about a husband who gets caught by his wife with a particular “men’s magazine”. To try and get out of trouble, he claims that he, “only reads it for the articles,” he, “never looks at the pictures”. Like the guilty husband, some Mormons are a little afraid of getting caught with a “Sunstone” due to the controversial nature of some of its articles. BUT, like the husband of legend, I have an excuse. I can truly say that sometimes I get Sunstone “just for the pictures” because Jett Atwood’s work is A-Fricken-Mazing! I am completely truthful when I say that I have gone through entire issues of Sunstone just to enjoy and contemplate Atwood’s work. “Please, Please Call Me to the Bishopric!” is GREAT! Buy a copy! As you read it, you will not only laugh and have fun, you will ponder deep things. Buy a copy! When you do, you will support an independent artist and publisher. Buy a copy! And hopefully if enough copies sell we will get to enjoy Volume II.