Absurd and brilliant comics designed to be read right-side-up as well as upside-down


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Read more of these at Barnacle Press’s web site — and then buy this book. If enough people read the book, I can change my handle at the Comics Curmudgeon back, from [Old Man] Muffaroo to just Muffaroo again. Some people thought it was a woman’s name, like “Muffy,” I guess.

But yeah, this is insane genius stuff here. (Maybe Lyonel Feininger can get a nice big reprint edition next, eh, God?)


I was gonna say this needs to be a Wink selection, but then I finished reading the description. :smiley:

Verbeek is a big hero to me, and this post draws me out of lurk mode to thank you for pointing out the book. Constructing this type of comic is incredibly hard. I’ve done just one comic of this type and it took me around twenty hours. I probably won’t attempt another. Does anyone know of other cartoonists giving it a try? I would love to see more of them, and I think a few people must have been inspired to draw one, and probably a lot better than I could do. Verbeek was a genius, and deserves to be better known.


I was looking at these and thinking what a genius he is. I can’t even imagine juggling that many mental balls, to make all the parts look like two things at once. Of course it doesn’t help I have no artistic skill at all.

If you like this kind of thing, check out Scott Kim’s ambigrams:


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Yes! I remember seeing the Upside-Downs lonnng ago, featured in Games magazine I think. Will have to get the book and introduce my kids to 'em now. Thanks!

Oh I’ve seen them. Brilliant!

I was lucky enough to know Scott in the 80s, and even luckier to have him “invert” my name in my copy of his book, Inversions. He could do that with seemingly any name or word, on the spot. A lovely person and a unique artist.

The 2007 reprinting of “Little Sammy Sneeze” includes quite a few full-size Upside-Downs.

It also includes some Woozlebeasts. It’s a huge book, though - so if your bookshelves are normally sized you’ll need to screw legs on it and make it a coffee table.

These look amazing. I loved the book Round Trip by Ann Jonas as a child. It was all in black and white about a trip to the city. When you read through it, it was day time and the black negative space outlined the white illustrations. When you got to the end of the book, you turned it upside and read about the trip home that night. Now the white negative space outlined the black illustrations. It was wonderful.

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Amazon says Round Trip is for “Age Range: 4 - 8 years, Grade Level: Preschool - 03”. I’m baffled. To me, it looks like a fascinating book for anyone of any age. I made screen shots and flipped them over to get a good look at the sample pages. Really nicely done!

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