cover image Wake Up, Percy Gloom

Wake Up, Percy Gloom

Cathy Malkasian. Fantagraphics, $28.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-60699-638-6

In this follow-up to the much lauded Percy Gloom, Malkasian (Temperance) shows us what happens when her hero wakes up after a rather long nap in a barrel, and immediately sets to work finding his mother, all the while thinking about, and longing for, his beloved Miss Margaret. The world is different from how Percy remembers it, and he makes the acquaintance of the disagreeable Mr. Tetzel, who helps Percy travel around the world, back to his beloved homeland. The absurdist nature of the landscape Malkasian creates is reward enough in itself, calling to mind at certain moments the bizarre world Yuichi Yokoyama creates in Garden. But more than just absurdism is in play, and both the book’s spellbinding illustrations and charming narrative are wonderfully evocative. Percy may see things that a character like Mr. Tetzel dismisses as nonsense, but he sees with such clarity that the reader cannot similarly dismiss him. Impossible to overlook as well is how charming this love story is—never saccharin or conventional or recycled. It’s not an easy thing to create a sequel to a story that was lauded for its originality, but this work makes us think it is. (July)