cover image Crazy Like a Fox: Adventures in Schizophrenia

Crazy Like a Fox: Adventures in Schizophrenia

Christi Furnas. Street Noise, $21.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-951491-28-4

Furnas skewers the mental healthcare system in her sharp-edged graphic novel debut, which interweaves candid autobiographical moments into the story of aspiring artist Fox Foxerson and a bevy of other anthropomorphic critters. Desperate for friendship after moving to the big city—“It’s not Oz, but at least it’s not Kansas”—Fox crashes a house party hosted by the lovable Teddy (a bear). Dissuaded from dancing with partygoer Dodo (“I just think it’s a bad idea,” Teddy cautions), Fox befriends Goth Fairy and Snake, igniting a bustling social life in between time spent drawing on café napkins and working a “dead end job.” Then Fox moves into an apartment with Dodo, who becomes abusive (“I would hate to break the hand you draw with”). Emotional turmoil surfaces in the ample white space around simple black-and-white doodled art—in one paranoid episode, the clawed hands of a spectral figure grasp for Fox’s spiraling mind. Following multiple suicide attempts, Fox receives a schizophrenia diagnosis that sets in motion a frenetic journey through a morass of hospitals and psychiatric facilities where unsympathetic physicians are cleverly illustrated as interchangeable sock puppets with creepy button eyes. Chapters tend to end abruptly, as does the book, absent of resolution. This surreal work reflects the disorientation of mental breakdown. (Apr.)