cover image Misfortune


Aeon Hand. Birdcage Bottom, $16.99 trade paper (140p) ISBN 978-1-957795-99-7

“Many receive advice, only the wise profit by it” is typical of benign, mildly cryptic messages that one finds in a fortune cookie, but artist Hand turns such seemingly innocuous statements inside out in this curious collection of comics. Through a series of disturbing black-and-white illustrations, readers are guided through a twisted look at the sinister side of prognostication. Hand juxtaposes the sage yet inane “advice” with comics scenes adapted from the quotes, such as the victim’s-eye view of a gun-toting woman preparing to pull the trigger as her sadistic, smiling companion looks on in approval. “Cut through organizational impediments and get some real work done” depicts the lighter side of arson, and another take finds the paranoia in “Good things are being said about you.” Themes include murder, suicide, and school shootings, while “You may attend a party where strange customs prevail” reveals a scene of torture. The novelty veers quickly to grotesque nightmare fuel. The visual contrast of the simple fortunes, many punctuated by tiny smiley face icons, alongside the all-too-graphic depictions of violent acts is striking, to be sure. But, like an all-you-can-eat buffet at a dodgy restaurant, a little goes a long way. (Sept.)