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Or Else #5
posted January 8, 2009

imageCreators: Kevin Huizenga
Publishing Information: Drawn and Quarterly, comic book (classic mini-comic sized), 40 pages, 2008, $4.95
Ordering Numbers: 9781897299814 (ISBN13)

I don't have much that's valuable to say about Kevin Huizenga's latest comic book, but I wanted to make sure that I mentioned it was out. Huizenga's one of the best cartoonists working, and anything he releases is likely to be worth your time. This one is, too. I imagine it could be a difficult comic in a lot of ways for a number of readers, although the work itself is fairly straight forward once you make the decision to dive in. Drawing its central story and perhaps its overall conceit from Giorgio Manganelli's Centuria, Huizenga works the thin, perhaps wholly artificial line between scene and story: a turtle in the house, a man's recovery from a near nervous breakdown in a country that's probably some variation of America puts him behind the lines of a religious war and its aftermath, sentences are diagrammed, a conversation unfolds and then is regretted, personalities are described, a relationship to house spiders is outlined, an ad promising easy answers is portrayed. While it's always pleasurable to read comics from Huizenga -- the way his style has blossomed into one of the signature "looks" of current alt-comics, and a more abstract version in a couple of the short-shorts -- this is also a deceptively rich book; I've returned to it a couple of times, and I don't feel like I'm close to getting from it all I will.