Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > CR Reviews

The End #1
posted January 23, 2007

Creator: Anders Nilsen
Publishing Information: Fantagraphics/Coconino, softcover, 32 pages, January 2007, $7.95
Ordering Numbers: 9781560978145 (ISBN13)

imageI'm working on a longer piece about Anders Nilsen given the significance and mystery of his recent work, but I wanted to alert anyone out there even halfway interested in affecting alternative comics or comics as abstraction to The End, the cartoonist's new offering through the Ignatz line. Having suffered a terrible loss in late 2005, an event he deals with in more direct fashion in other works, Nilsen finds himself in that stage that some people call, without irony and in completely inadequate fashion, "putting one's life back together." At the same time, he's at a point in his artistic journey that finds him tugging and tearing at various basic formal elements that most come to expect in comics. It's thrilling and heartbreaking, often in the same panel.

Many of the comics touch on both experiences, but The End contains what will probably be the saddest comic you'll read in a long, long time, the more straightforward progressive scene-by-scene narrative "Since You've Been Gone I Can Do Whatever I Want, All Of The Time," which shows the cartoonist or his close stand-in stand-in crying and depressed and basically not making it very well though various events of the day. The title lends an element of very real humor to the effort, an act of self-awareness that makes the experience human rather than a treatise on a condition. If you haven't tried any of Nilsen's more recent comics, this is a fine starting point. If you have, then I don't need to tell you anything.