cover image One More Year

One More Year

Simon Hanselmann. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (200p) ISBN 978-160699-997-4

Hanselmann’s bestselling parodic characters Megg and Mogg return in another collection of the nihilism, literally cartoonish cruelty, and bursts of the stoner comedy that the strip is best known for. Though this book isn’t a linear graphic novel like the previous Worst Behavior, Hanselmann weaves a few story threads throughout: long-suffering Owl’s crush on Megg; the slow downward spiral of Werewolf Jones; and Megg and Mogg’s crushing struggles with depression and anxiety, which often leave them all but unable to function. It’s in this strife that the book finds its title—the phrase is Megg’s mantra to convince herself not to die yet. Those flickers of nearly extinguished humanity are what guide Hanselmann’s narrative. Readers are forced to find sympathy for even the most abusive characters, and acknowledge the flaws in the most pitiable; Owl—often the victim of everyone else’s attacks—is himself prone to the same violent toxicity he experiences from others. Hanselmann’s world isn’t just devoid of heroes, it’s full to bursting with all humanity’s sins. While that’s far from a universally appealing lens for fantasy, readers struggling with their own demons will find this anthology chillingly real. (June)