Why Don’t You Love Me?
Paul B. Rainey. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-77046-631-9
A woefully mismatched couple puts themselves, their children, and everyone they know through the wringer in this sly dark comedy with an eerie sci-fi twist from Rainey (There’s No Time Like the Present). In a kind of British suburban Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, married couple Claire and Mark try to outdo each other in misery. Only instead of out-and-out combat, their dysfunction plays out as quietly burnt-out surrender. Ignoring their two children so completely they cannot even agree on their names, they drag through the days. Claire is depressed in a drunkenly anesthetized state of quasi-trauma, sniping back and forth with confused, passive-aggressive Mark, who on returning to work from mental health leave cannot figure out what his job used to be. Unemployment, divorce, and infidelity loom in what appears a mundane tragedy. Their domestic squabbles cycle and repeat to a nearly unbearable degree before a stunning plot twist kicks the narrative into a different register, with revelations full of strangeness and terror. Presented in quick and light but confident black-and-white strokes, the artistic simplicity belies an increasingly complex concept. This one’s for curious indie-comics readers who enjoy being surprised. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/16/2022