Thursday, February 09, 2006

By the Ganges

There's a laid back, comfortable feel to Kevin Huizenga's Ganges #1, (Fantagraphics Books-Coconino Press, 2006), which contains the stories "Time Travelling," "The Litterer," "Glenn + Wendy," "Glenn Ganges With Wendy," and "Glenn Ganges in Bed." If this sounds too laid back, Huizenga's persistent interests in metaphysics and science are also in evidence here, too.

In Huizenga's hands, Glenn and Wendy are achieving Shulz-ian levels of identifiable reality. What I mean is that rather than drawn characters in books by Huizenga, there's a sense that they actually do exist, and the artist is just revealing slices of their daily lives to the reader in an almost documentary fashion. Now, I don't actually believe that Glenn and Wendy exist in the "real world," (or that I'll have a chance to meet them one day). Rather, I've pretty much accepted the real-ness of the world in which these characters live.

I suppose this is something the artist primarily effects, but there's also an act of transferance that takes place on the part of the reader. (And as I described in an earlier post, George Herriman achieved this with his Krazy Kat and Ignatz, too.)

There are some nice panels in Ganges #1. In the final story, Glenn lies awake in bed beside his partner, thinking about the countless other people on earth who might be doing the same thing. While not a particularly profound idea, it yields a profound image: multiple heads on pillows precisely arrayed, resembling the rose window of a gothic cathedral.

For readers interested in more Huizenga, here's a short bibliography of collected material:

Drawn and Quarterly Showcase, Book One, (Drawn and Quarterly, 2003); contains three stories: "Glenn Ganges," "28th Street," and "The Curse."

Kramers Ergot 5, (Gingko Press, 2004), contains Huizenga's intelligent novella (in color!) titled Jeepers Jacobs.

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