Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary

Justin Green, Author, Art Spiegelman, Introduction by . McSweeney's $29 (63p) ISBN 978-1-934781-55-5

This Rosetta Stone of autobiographical comics—or perhaps more appropriately, in this case, “confessional” comics—receives the deluxe treatment it so richly deserves with this beautiful over-sized edition featuring art reproduced directly from the original pages (which had lain in a collector's garage since 1973). The narrative tracks the progress of young Binky Brown from childhood through adolescence, dragging readers into its protagonist's awkward and embarrassing Eisenhower-era world, an existence dominated by bizarre obsessive-compulsive behavior (before the condition was identified as such) flavored with the lad's deeply-indoctrinated, guilt-ridden Catholic fears. Binky's horror at the possibility of his “impure” thoughts contaminating religious sites and possibly offending and tainting the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Virgin herself (in an incredibly sacrilegious sequence that is downright gut-busting), starts small and slowly manifests into an almost unbearably frank and squirm-inducing waking nightmare. In its depiction of the all-too-familiar youthful confusion over faith and one's burgeoning sexuality, Green's work can be seen as a crisply illustrated, humorously therapeutic indictment of Catholicism that doubles as a session of auto-exorcism. Highly recommended. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
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