Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I've read some criticism online of this book that splits between calling it a classic and deeming it overrated. IIIIIIII'm gonna side with the latter camp.
I just found the philosophical stuff overreaching and pseudo-...It just wasn't convincing. And the characters too dry and talky and are unfortunately not all that interesting. (Maybe this cartoonist is just not a writer). And the very ending was confusing. Not confusing in that I couldn't figure out what he was trying to say, but confusing in its execution. Even though the action and art is very clear, it's hard to figure out whether the ending is literal or metaphorical and so it took some of the bite out of it for me. Something was not working for me.
It's definitely ambitious and it has some charms (on a personal note, I enjoyed the fact that a chunk of the book took place in Ithaca, NY, with the inferred unnamed university being my alma mater, Cornell....since the professorial character was an architect, it was obvious from the buildings that the cartoonist went to Cornell's campus and incorporated the very art and architecture buildings that comprised my college at the university)....
.....but overall I found this book kind of glib, including the designs, as if it were longing to be one of the animated shorts from the '60s, part Norman Juster/MGM joint, part UPA cartoon. It's not that the character designs are bad. They just didn't appeal to me. Kind of chilly. Didn't dig it, brother.
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed my sensitive thoughts on this book. A very mixed review from me. On a technical level, this is a handsome, well-drawn art comic, and I'm glad that cartoonists who made their name on superhero stuff are breaking away from it and going for something totally different.
But we're getting to the point where there's enough quality non-superhero graphic novels out there that we can take some of this stuff for granted. So I elect to not recommend this one. Especially with a new book by Gilbert Hernandez out and that Johnny Cash graphic novel to investigate.....