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Return of the Elephant
posted January 26, 2005
AdHouse Books, 48 pages, 5 inches wide by 9 inches tall, $6
The majority of Return of the Elephant
depicts a long conversation between two gentlemen who are continuing their fathers' buyer-seller relationship in the distribution of illicit videos. The reader fails to learn that for certain until very late in the story, although it's pretty clear from the first few pages something slightly nasty is going on. I guess one way to view Return of the Elephant
would be as a slap in the face at the pretension of comic book stories that deal with the hopelessness of everyday existence instead of concentrating on grander societal ills that are all around us. Otherwise, it's hard to figure out. Nothing in the life of the protagonist or his partner in crime is depicted in a way that grounds the story and deepens our feeling of dismay or horror when we discover the exact nature of what is going on. In fact, very little about the story is authentic, genuine or powerful enough for Return of the Elephant
to be much more than an experience in patiently waiting out the inevitable "twist." My feelings about the comic are mirrored in the non-traditional formatting, which is fine to look at but doesn't seem to have a greater point, either. The rigid panel structure Hornschemeier utilized may be the most interesting thing about the book; it reinforces the banality of the general situation and the restrictive lives of the characters. Nothing within the panels is close to being as effective in conveying mood. The art is average, albeit clear.