The Book of Hope

Tommi Musturi. Fantagraphics, $34.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-60699-877-9
Finnish artist Musturi finds grace in the quotidian in this dense visual feast, in which characters with the stocky, universality of classic comic strip figures cavort through swaths of neon and acid colors. Centered on the rich inner life of a retiree, this book is both hallucinatory and routine. Hikes through the forest are followed by epic, wild west–themed dreams. Moments of reflection in a sauna chase dizzyingly complicated scenes of violence. Above all, Musturi focuses on mortality and change on the micro and macro scales. Its themes are a little leaden at times—his eagerness to express a weighty thought drags more than a few pages into didacticism. But the book’s visual splendor, especially in its depiction of rural Finland, elevates it into something more magical. This is a slow, thoughtful, meandering journey of a book that, despite its missteps, is worth a long look. Those interested in alternative comics, nature illustration, and experimental approaches to storytelling will find much to linger over. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/15/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
Genre: Comics
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