cover image Approximate Continuum

Approximate Continuum

Lewis Trondheim. Fantagraphics, $18.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-60699-410-8

Trondheim's seminal autobiographical comic series, collected in one volume, is daring, wildly ingenious, paradigm-defining stuff. The dry humor evokes both Ghost World and Woody Allen at his best, in that this is a cerebral comedy about nothing except the author's own neurotic hangups and delusions. This no-holds-barred incursion into the comic artist's psyche goes where no one save Harvey Pekar has ventured before. Less vitriolic and more metaphysically introspective than Pekar, Continuum manages the feat of being wildly entertaining on top of smart, effortlessly rendering the banal act of visiting a national park or just packing up and moving into seemingly universally relevant experience. In one sequence, Trondheim, exacerbating the lameness of an already lame work party featuring a protagonist called "white rasta dude" and a nymphomaniac, reaches absurdly funny heights, in a kind of Everest of derisive social satire. Monsters and dragons and giant limbs sprouting at regular intervals, symbolic archetypes inhabit Lewis's tortured conscience. What sets Trondheim apart is the ability to juxtapose the macro and the micro, the public and private spheres, the one feeding inexorably off the other. A brilliant symbiotic tour de force. (June)