Friday, August 17, 2007

Reading Recommendation

I enjoy a good graphic novel now and again. Kevin Huizenga's Curses came out in September of 2006, but I only recently got a chance to read it.

Huizenga's work is a sort of suburban fabulism*. My favorite story in Curses is called "28th Street," and it follows Glenn Ganges (Huizenga's everyman protagonist) as he attempts to lift the curse that is keeping he and his wife from having a child. To do so, he must find an ogre and pluck a feather from him. He finds the ogre behind a grocery store, after spraying gasoline from an enchanted gas station into his eyes so he can have visions.

Suburban fabulism, as I said. If this story sounds in any way familiar, it is because it is a retelling of an Italian folktale that appeared in a book by Italo Calvino.

The stories in Curses are loosely linked. Glenn appears in all but one—a beautiful, minimalist pairing of simple landscapes and text from "actual adoption papers" called "Case 0003128-24"*. The feathered ogre of "28th Street" explodes into a flock of birds at the end of that story, and the piece that follows ("The Curse") concerns an infestation of starlings. That cover image, with its little lower case letter "v"s and hyphens and crosses, is a flock of starlings, powerfully rendered in its simplicity. (Follow this link to see a flock of starlings in action.)

* A good example of suburban fabulism would be this story by the wonderful Stacey Richter.

** Though it occurs to me Glenn Ganges may be a character her implicitly.

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