cover image The End of the Fucking World

The End of the Fucking World

Charles Forsman. Fantagraphics, $19.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-60699-667-6

"When I was thirteen and a half, I found a cat in the woods. I smashed its body with a stone." Like a teenage metal head's revenge fantasy world spun out of control, but drawn by a demented Mort Walker, this debut graphic novel is a haunting odyssey. James is an unfeeling and disturbed youth who tortures animals, sticks his hand down a garbage disposal, punches his father in the face, and lacks compassion or feeling for anyone else. At 16, he pretends to fall in love with his classmate Alyssa and convinces her to split town with him after he steals his dad's car. They break into a house in the suburbs and start playing a clumsy version of house, unable to escape the awkwardness of their age. They also make a disturbing discovery about the homeowner. When he returns, the pair's fake home life comes crashing down. This is a visceral comic, full of deeply unsettling violent images and actions, though Forsman's minimalist style helps keep the focus on the impact of the events, not the horror itself. This is not a redemption story, and there are no good people in it. Forsman has crafted a comic that captures youth, frustration, and that deep, dark feeling that maybe things won't get better when you get older. (Aug.)