Sick

Gabby Schulz. Secret Acres (dist. by Consortium), $21.95 (84p) ISBN 978-0-9962739-1-6
Languishing in his Brooklyn apartment while struck with a vicious illness, cartoonist Schulz (Monsters) enters a Kafkaesque fugue state, in which the horror of modern existence is laid bare. This collection compiles and completes the webcomic of the same name, originally published on Schulz’s website. Beginning with a relatively straightforward panel structure and an introspective, self-loathing bent—Crumblike, but more virulent—Schulz explores how being uninsured and poor led him to question the value of his own life, from birth to presumably imminent death. Coming up with few reasons to stay alive, Schulz’s nihilism turns its gaze outward. If the life of a “white, able, sane, middle-class, cisgendered male” has no meaning, then for what has the planet been plunged into an environmental and economic nightmare? Schulz gradually transitions from simple panels to elaborate illustrations, all endowed with frightening power from his expertly administered watercolors, which cast a gruesome shadow on the world. By the final gut-wrenching page, even the most relentless optimists will find cracks in their veneer, as Schulz establishes himself as a grim master of the form. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
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