Wendal, His Cat, and the Progress of Man-Five Copy Display

V. Campudoni, Author Longstreet Press $60 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56352-144-7
Campudoni's graphic novel is an allegory of urban alienation and redemption rendered in childish prose and primitive black-and-white drawings. The eponymous protagonist is a white-collar automaton, a neatly dressed homunculus with an egg-shaped head that brings to mind Edvard Munch's The Scream , except that Wendal's face is expressionless. The book attempts to subvert the numbing platitudes of modern life by juxtaposing an allegorical story about ``the never-ending march of civilization'' with grotesque artwork depicting scenes of cruelty and mayhem. A clerk at ``a very small office surrounded by a very big civilization called mankind,'' Wendal passes his leisure time watching TV and visiting the park, where he finds pastoral solace and muses that life is ``the most powerful and sacred thing in the universe.'' Wendal also talks to his cat, Gai-Pan, who, unlike Wendal, grows aware of the hegemonic brutality of the world and runs away. As Wendal searches for Gai-Pan, he discovers that his boss, the police, the church and the media are less concerned with ``the progress of man'' than with money, bloodshed and social tumult. When Wendal musters the courage to talk back to them, he is crucified. A weirdly pretentious but mildly touching parable of quotidian angst. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/04/1994
Release date: 04/01/1994
Hardcover - 100 pages - 978-1-56352-128-7
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