cover image O.B.B.


Paolo Javier.. Nightboat, $22.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-64362-072-5

The intriguing fifth collection from Javier (Court of the Dragon) collects six visceral poetry comics sequences with art by Alexander Tarampi and Ernest Concepcion. Inspired by Lynda Barry and bpNichol but wielding their own severe, fragmented twist, each entry explores immigration, the normative family, and the imaginative power of the juxtaposition between word and image. "Aren't You a Mess" presents pixelated images and fragments in parallel, while "Last Gasp" uses a more familiar comics style but pairs distorted cartoon and hyperrealistic schematics. Even "Remain as Beast," which takes the most conventionally poetic approach in generating a series of stanzas, seems inspired by the wide lens of the visual: "I see my/ baby don't leave partly falls aloud love to When you always I," one entry ends. In a long afterword, Javier offers a history of the comics-poem, describing his evolving interest in comics as a type of poetry, and briefly recounting the process of the book's composition. Readers interested in the potential of this unusual form will find the book's exploration and context invaluable, though those looking for a conventional reading experience may find the comics distract from the verse. (Aug.)