Vanishing Act

Roman Muradov. Fantagraphics, $14.99 (88p) ISBN 978-1-68396-150-5
This structurally ambitious graphic novel follows a bohemian party over 13 chapters, each drawn in a different style: impressionistic spatters, minimalist linework, playful surrealism, collage, and more. Actors, writers, filmmakers, critics, and one Instagram-famous dog all gather at the apartment of actor Peter Hall before spilling onto the street and drifting around town as they ruminate on art and philosophy. The narrative eye wanders but most often focuses on T.B., a production coordinator; Simon, a cameraman; and G.A., a “comedic actor of diminishing renown.” The facility with which Muradov (Jacob Bladders and the State of Art) switches up art styles and literary voices is impressive, but it’s impossible to fully conceal his hallmark look, a geometric draftsmanship with the visual wit and abstract precision of classic UPA animation or a mid-century New Yorker cartoon (Muradov is, in fact, a regular contributor to the magazine). Though the work occasionally becomes too absorbed in exploring forms to express an emotional message, it’s lovely to look at regardless. Appealing to art comics fans and scholars, the playful volume proves an elegant exploration of the medium as an expression of perspective and inner experience. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2018
Release date: 12/25/2018
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