cover image The Three Paradoxes

The Three Paradoxes

Paul Hornschemeier, . . Fantagraphics, $14.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-653-0

In Hornschemeier’s third major work, the clearly inked panels of a framing story show the main character, a comics artist named Paul, on a walk with his father. The touchingly honest conversation between father and son is intercut with stories that include childhood memories and Zeno’s presentation of his three paradoxes to a group of Athenian philosophers. The book’s funniest moment comes when Socrates, upon hearing the paradoxes, interrupts to say, “Man, no offense, but are you guys retarded ?” and then goes on to berate Zeno for his insistence on the impossibility of change. A young luminary of experimental comics, Hornschemeier offers a brilliant narrative demonstration of the paradoxes in this graphic personal essay, in which the protagonist simultaneously connects with his past, mulls over his present and anticipates the future. The book is formally brilliant as well, with a dust jacket that peels back to reveal preparatory sketches on the hard cover of the book and stories that are each told in a different, fully realized style. Childhood memories are shown in newsprint comic color-dot style while Zeno’s story is presented as pages torn from old comics, their frayed edges laid out on the white pages of the book. (July)