School Spirits

Anya Davidson. PictureBox (D.A.P., dist.), $19.95 (152p) ISBN 978-1-939799-02-9
Chicago-based artist and musician Davidson is known for her underground zines and minicomics; her first full-length graphic novel continues in this vein of surreal, pulp-inspired, absurdist adventures. This book follows fanatical metal girl Oola and her bizarre supernatural connections to the things around her—most notably the intense metal musician Hrothgar. Listening to his music inspires lengthy dream visions that drift beyond the strange to the seemingly incomprehensible. Yet for all this, Davidson’s graphic novel is eminently readable; it presents a story that allows the author to give full range to her imagination. Her drawings defy straightforward categorization, sometimes feeling like the artwork of golden age science fiction comics and sometimes in the tradition of punk pioneer Gary Panter or raunchmeister Johnny Ryan. Davidson uses a different style for each of the four chapters, including long wordless sequences. Unconventional as it all is, Davidson’s narrative invention and visual imagination never waver. In terms of its storytelling and as a work of art, School Spirits is an inspired debut effort. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/09/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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