Folly: The Consequences of Indiscretion

Hans Rickheit, Author, Hans Rickheit, Illustrator
Hans Rickheit. Fantagraphics, $18.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-60699-509-9
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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The frighteningly hilarious world of Rickheit’s graphic novel is a deranged cabinet of curiosities, full of biomechanical tanks, writhing organic matter, amorphous monsters birthing adorable kittens, men and women in animal masks, and countless tubes, gas masks, sex toys, and pseudo-Victorian apocalyptic landscapes. It would all be too oppressive if Rickheit’s sense of humor weren’t so addictive. In one particularly hilarious vignette, an apelike prince named Jeffrey terrorizes his servants and executes his subjects in graphic detail. Rickheit undermines all of this horrible detail in the last frame with the hilariously blasé caption, “Isn’t it obvious?” This juxtaposition of dry humor undercuts the richly drawn horror of Folly, simultaneously adding to its strangeness and making it bearable for a casual read. Though the book contains less of a continuous narrative than his 2009 graphic novel, The Squirrel Machine, each vignette builds on the last by cycling through a small cast of characters and through Rickheit’s illustrations of his grotesque Victorian world. The result is a narrative mosaic that pairs sumptuous, horrific imagery against a strange but lighthearted sense of humor. (Apr.)
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