cover image Lovf: An Illustrated History of a Man Losing His Mind

Lovf: An Illustrated History of a Man Losing His Mind

Jesse Reklaw. Fantagraphics, $16.99 (172p) ISBN 978-1-60699-937-0

A spiraling nightmare of cross-hatching, ink splatter, pen scribbles, and collage, this is more of an experience than a narrative. Created as a notebook over the course of a descent into mental illness and poverty, Reklaw (Couch Tag) offers the reader no quarter from his anguish: antidepressant side effects, dumpster diving, and homelessness are all explored in devastating detail. Overlaying this book’s despair, however, are the exploits of his Dungeons and Dragons character, creating a surreality that both undercuts and emphasizes the work’s darkness. Not for the faint of heart, this is very much an artist’s book, meant for those most interested in the furthest possibilities of sequential art: Reklaw recalls Lynda Barry, Chris Ware, and Aline Kominsky throughout. But for those who brave its shattering pages, this book offers a twisted exploration of the furthest reaches of the comics medium—and the catacombs of the human spirit. (July)