Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Vol. 2): It Only Hurts When I Pee by Ben Templesmith

Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Volume 2): It Only Hurts When I Pee by Ben TemplesmithThe slapstick horror of Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse continues in volume two, It Only Hurts When I Pee. Wormwood is an “intergalactic, interdimensional, immortal, happy-go-lucky larval worm thing” that “wears corpses likes suits.” You can see the worm he is in the eyeball of each corpse. And he has his gang: Mr. Pendulum a “robotic drinking companion”; Ms. Medusa, ex-girlfriend and manager of Wormwood’s favorite bar, The Dark Alley; and Phoebe Phoenix, a bodyguard recently hired by Wormwood. This volume starts off when Phoebe and Mr. Pendulum accompany Wormwood to the Friday night Leprechaun Fights.

At the fights, Wormwood gets bitten by a leprechaun and finds out even though he’s seemingly immortal, this bite will eventually kill him in any host body he wears. The only solution? Find the leprechaun queen, who can lift the curse. To find the queen, they need Medusa at the Dark Alley to open a gateway so they can make a transdimensional leap to Leprechaunia. Unfortunately, once there, they run into the Squidmen, who are also interdimensional beings like Wormwood. And it turns out they’ve had a run-in with Wormwood in the past and have a grudge. So, while Wormwood is seeking out the queen, the Squidmen are on the hunt, tracking down Wormwood, Mr. Pendulum, and Phoebe.

It is a simple plot, but fun with plenty of fights and chases. The art, as in the first volume, is the real star, but the story is not as good as in volume one. Wormwood is wearing the corpse of a little girl, so there is some visual humor, as well as plenty of offensive material and sex jokes which maintains the tone of the series. There is a bonus story that is not very interesting, but there is a funny scene in which Ben Templesmith shows up in his own comic as Wormwood’s biographer. He is drinking in the Dark Alley and writing/drawing his comic and shouting about the Eisner nominations he has received. If you liked volume one, you will most likely enjoy the second book, but I can give it only three out of five stars.


  • Brad Hawley

    BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia.