Richard McGuire. Pantheon, $35 (304p) ISBN 978-0-375-40650-8
Expanding on an influential piece that first appeared in Raw in 1989, McGuire, best known for his illustrated children’s books, explores a single patch of land (apparently in Perth Amboy, N.J.) over the course of millions of years. As in the earlier version, McGuire’s perspective is fixed in what is (for most of the book) the corner of a family room, even as the narrative skips across centuries. At the beginning and end, dinosaurs and futuristic animals (respectively) stalk pages unadorned by people. But throughout most of the book, the reader sees human families dance, die, celebrate, fracture, and just live. A Native American couple makes out in the woods, people in 1980s garb pose for a portrait, a 24th-century team waves Geiger counters, a 1999 cat pads across the frame, and so on. The flat, hard lines produce art that looks like an approximation of Edward Hopper’s clean bright paintings, created on an outdated computer program. McGuire threads miniplots and knowing references through his hopscotch narrative, building up a head of steam that’s almost overwhelmingly poignant. His masterful sense of time and the power of the mundane makes this feel like the graphic novel equivalent of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/13/2014
Release date: 12/09/2014
Genre: Comics
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