cover image Old Caves

Old Caves

Tyler Landry. Uncivilized, $19.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-941250-53-2

This icily spare graphic novel from Landry (Shit and Piss) features a protagonist who pursues an enigmatic quest in utter isolation. The nameless, prematurely old retiree (he “cashed out” early) spends his days in a remote mountain cabin. He scratches out diary entries which refer obliquely to a long-running project, for which he hikes through vast, snow-covered mountain ranges to a mysterious cave. Flashbacks reveal he once lived in these same woods with his wife, who later decamped for civilization to take care of her sister. The contrasts show just how much narrower the man’s life has become, but while he seems entranced by his wife’s letters, his love of the wilderness supersedes his love for her. Landry’s black-and-white art makes lyrical use of negative space, rendering the mountains with magisterial effect. Unlike many tales of self-separating loners, this maintains a profound emotional through line, mostly through the letters: “I could punch and kick and kiss you all at once,” the protagonist’s wife writes. Landry depicts the costs of separation from society with piercing visual poetry. (June)