cover image Seeds and Stems

Seeds and Stems

Simon Hanselmann. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (367p) ISBN 978-1-68396-309-7

Following up Bad Gateway, this profane batch of Megg, Mogg, and Owl stories collects rare and little-known comics from Hanselmann’s Megahex series. It’s an unrelenting, brutal look at addiction, abuse, and mental illness in Hanselmann’s signature sketchy, mainly dichromatic style: witch Megg and her familiar/boyfriend Mogg perpetuate their cycle of doing drugs with perpetually high Werewolf Jones, insult and injure their roommate Owl, and bicker as Megg slowly falls in love with Booger, the transgender boogeyman. Particularly notable is the previously uncollected material from Hanselmann’s Werewolf Jones and Sons zines (illustrated by Grant “HTMLFlowers” Gronewold), which greatly expands on the character’s abusive relationship with his children, and “Megg, Mogg, and Michael Snow,” one of three early strips from Hanselmann’s first Megahex zine. This volume is exceptionally gruesome, as characters gouge out eyes or attempt gory suicide on-panel, and a short sci-fi comic, “Halo Chamber,” includes pedophilia. Though Hanselmann’s obsessions may be beyond the pale for many readers, his devoted fans and those fascinated by humanity’s darkest aspects will find a wealth of material here. Agent: Alesandra Sternfeld, Am-Book (Aug.)