Big Kids

Michael DeForge. Drawn & Quarterly, $16.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-77046-224-3
DeForge’s work—Ant Colony, First Year Healthy—is often aloof and disturbing, and both those qualities are present here, but they’re mixed with overt empathy for his alienated, restless cast; the result is perhaps his most completely realized narrative to date. Adam is a gay high school junior enduring bullying and an indifferent boyfriend, both presented in a bleak tableau opening the book. When his parents take in a new lodger, April, Adam suddenly (and literally) discovers a new world that was in front of him all along. But because this is DeForge, the metaphor for growing up involves the whole world transforming into reedy, sensitive “trees” and unevolved, primitive “twigs.” Half of the book is an abstract art–influenced attempt to describe what it would be like to see the world with heightened and altered senses; the other half is a more archetypal coming-of age-story. Both halves reflect and expand each other to make a mesmerizing, poetic rumination on how we exist in the world, all exquisitely rendered with DeForge’s storytelling mastery, right down to coloring and lettering. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
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