Jimbo's Inferno

Gary Panter, Author . Fantagraphics $29.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-56097-691-2

Panter is a legend of independent comics; considered the father of punk comics, he has influenced many, including Matt Groening, and warped the look of children's television with his sets for Pee Wee's Playhouse . Jimbo's Inferno is the prequel to his critically acclaimed Jimbo in Purgatory , which came out in 2004. Inferno originally appeared as part of a short-lived line of art comics published by Groening, but here it's been reformatted to the terrifyingly deluxe oversized standards of Purgatory . Like that volume, this follows the outlines of Dante's Divine Comedy , but combines and conflates specific events, looking at them all with a satiric rock and roll flair. The erstwhile hero, Jimbo, guided by the boxlike Valise, travels into Focky Bocky, a subterranean mall that spirals downwards, containing a modern vision of hell. The art is a Boschian mishmash of grotesque and comic, all in Panter's signature proto-punk style. The dialogue borrows as much from Dante as from Lewis Carroll and Frank Zappa. Together, it is a dizzying re-envisioning of Dante. Perhaps because of its earlier format, it lacks the intricate polish that made Jimbo in Purgatory a groundbreaking comic, but as a rough sketch of twisted genius, it still amazes. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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