Drawn & Quarterly sent Meathaus the latest Michael DeForge (website/Twitter) book to get some eyeballs on, called Big Kids. The book is about a high school kid who hangs with a crew that likes to beat him up. He’s also in a secret relationship with one of the guys who enjoys abusing him. One day his understanding of reality is torn away: he has “treed.” He can now perceive that he is an abstract plant-based guy with flower-bed shoulder-clusters and that the world is divided into twig beings and tree beings. Twigs are those that haven’t “treed” and are stuck perceiving the lower-tier level of existence. Trees perceive sensations more intensely, often as visual vibrations, colors and blobs. Trees acknowledge each other with silent looks as they pass in a crowded hall full of twigs. Trees relax their agitated nerves by soaking in swimming pools where they writhe and cavort in next-level ecstasy. Treeing is treated as an analog for maturing or changing in some sense, but just like growing your first pube, achieving this tree-status doesn’t seem to equate with achieving any extra-special wisdom worth bragging about. As the comic progresses, we even learn that it is possible to de-tree (or re-twig, if you like). Definitely a lot of ambiguous coming-of-age hooks that you can catch your own experiences on as you plow through this fine read.
Drawn & Quarterly shared this book bounty with Meathaus. Beverly, by Nick Drnaso (website/tumblr) and Puke Force by Brian Chippendale (Instagram/Tumblr), are both new releases that will appeal to different sides of your comics pleasure center. Beverly will voyeuristically treat you to a variety of characters’s realistic scenarios of sexual repression/explosion and social humiliation in multiple stories. The art is clear, plain and disciplined with the effect being that the narrative flows into the mind with high priority. Puke Force drops deep into a crusty, expansive nightmare world where characters eat dumpster doughnuts, linger in the memory mist, practice top-form computer masturbation techniques and beg for their online profile to be updated despite being a blown-apart road-corpse. Single page strips build an overall narrative. The art is Chippendale’s signature gritty and textured dense compositions of ink that demand a slow examination of every panel and picture. Both books cut pretty deep into reality: everyone is barely restraining their madness and everything is unraveling.
See more at the D&Q Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Included above are scans of press releases with notable praise for the books. Unfortunately glacial posting-pace finds me publishing this one day after the artists’s book tour has concluded, but the books are fresh and ready to get into your face at your local stores.
Drawn and Quarterly just posted a preview of their collection of Chester Brown’s influential comic, Ed the Happy Clown. Looking good, in a dark, depressing, existentially dreadful way.