The Structure Is Rotten, Comrade

Viken Berberian and Yann Kebbi. Fantagraphics, $34.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-68396-215-1
This frantic satire of revolutionary politics and art criticism follows the rising and falling fortunes of Professor Frunz, an architect whose passion for Brutalist design obliterates any other meaningful relationship. Taught architectural history and the Golden Mean as a toddler, Frunz grows into an intense, bespectacled man who declares “I love cement more than anything” and follows his legendary architect father to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, to help him reshape it into a hell of slab megabuildings. “Architecture. It can break a family apart,” Frunz observes solemnly, and later scolds violent revolutionaries for not appreciating the value of genuine Alvar Aalto stools. Beneath the absurdity of the story runs a thread of sincere grief toward Armenia, author Berberian’s home country, over its loss of cultural heritage to economics and ideology. Kebbi renders the ridiculous characters and scenes in equally outlandish, raw colored-pencil art. Wrecking balls sail through the air as crudely exaggerated figures trot down scribbled-in streets, swapping design theories. It’s almost too abstract to work as a narrative, but as a visual representation of Berberian’s sardonic voice and apocalyptic sense of humor, it’s a perfect match. This bizarre art-comic will tickle intellectual funny bones. (May.)
Reviewed on : 03/14/2019
Release date: 05/21/2019
Genre: Comics
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