cover image Fante Bukowski Two

Fante Bukowski Two

Noah Van Sciver. Fantagraphics, $14.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-68396-001-0

This sequel to Van Sciver’s 2015 graphic novel about a lazy, untalented ,but still egotistical wannabe writer finds Bukowski one year later, slumming around Cleveland, home to his literary heroes, from whom he takes his name. Bereft of any real options, Bukowski finds his money dwindling, his only friend a prostitute who doesn’t like him very much, his only home a sleazy motel, and his only writing opportunity a homemade poetry zine he tries to sell on the street. Van Sciver juxtaposes this misfortune with the literary success of Bukowski’s old girlfriend, Audrey Catron, which brings her different troubles. Van Sciver’s portrayal of the writers isn’t exactly sympathetic, but it is on target, particularly when they descend into self-reverential playacting and pile on petty purity judgments towards each other’s career choices. And Van Sciver doesn’t exempt himself, appearing as Audrey’s mopey, coattail-riding, selfish boyfriend. The take-no-prisoners satire ends up being surprisingly sweet, and Van Sciver’s depictions of Cleveland offer a romanticism that might even align with how Bukowski sees his surroundings. (May)