Monologues for the Coming Plague

Anders Nilsen, Author . Fantagraphics $18.95 (260p) ISBN 978-1-56097-718-6

The latest offering by the author of the award-winning Dogs and Water is a long series of drawings—almost scribbles—simple enough to be stuck on Post-it notes. Don't let this fool you; these almost-doodles make a deeply funny and moving book. Whether it's a scribble-headed guy spouting poetry or a woman having a conversation with the bird she's feeding, the short, goofy captions provide a spectrum of nuanced and subtle social commentary. Nilsen goes on quiet feet where few pundits go. Topics include terrorism, semiotics, the eight-fold path and Tide laundry detergent, the last two combined. "Nothing ever happens here, yet the impending cataclysm is always right around the corner," says scribble-head. Later he pulls a dinosaur from his pocket, which eventually dismembers him. The bird and the woman also contribute to the discourse, ending with her final "Do you want the terrorist to win?" Nilsen takes the banal catchphrases of contemporary culture and strings them together like a master DJ. Pushing back the boundaries of comic art a second time, the results are hilarious, whimsical and heartbreakingly real. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/21/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
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