The Comic Queen

Zip ribbons and word balloons, Wednesday bliss and Previews dreams. If these phrases mean anything to you, then you're in the right place. But if they don't -- hey stick around anyway. You might just like what you see.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Or Else #1 Review

Or Else from Else #1
By Kevin Huizenga
Drawn and Quarterly; $3.50

Or Else #1 contains five short stories all very different from each other -- one a short day-in-the-life, the next a longer first-person narrative, a one-page Fight or Run story (think Spy vs. Spy), another a gorgeous meditative segment using an Asian landscape, and the last a telling of a Midwestern folk belief.

It’s Huizenga’s sure ink lines that tell his skill, exuding confidence and drawing the reader in. This coupled with Drawn & Quarterly’s high production value make Or Else a thing of beauty visually. Like many indie creators, Huizenga’s narrative is that of straightforward simplicity.

For example the one-page Glenn Ganges strip is simply six panels, each showing Glenn working on different chores around the house with the final two panels showing Glenn reading a book and then sitting with coffee on the front steps of his house. There’s a quietness to this that can’t be easily explained only immensely enjoyed.

In “NST ’04,” the longer first-person narrative, Huizenga shows Glenn and the way he spends his hours and finds community in a small town when his insomnia flares up.

The most beautiful “story” in my eyes was the 15-page “Chan Woo Kim” that placed sparse text segments from a boy’s adoption papers over haunting landscape scenes. I keep flipping back over these pages, they are so beautiful.

The last story is “Jeezoh” an explanation of a Midwestern folk belief about Jeezoh statues. These small dolls or statues dot graveyards and are thought to save souls stuck in Hell, especially children who don’t survive full-term pregnancies.

I truly hope Or Else #1 is a sign more great things will be coming from Huizenga, because one of the strongest feelings I’m left with at the end of the book is that I want to see more.

See sample pages from Or Else #1.

Bottom Line: A


  • At 12:53 PM, November 10, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I saw this at the store and stupidly put it down (i couldnt afford it after plunking down almost 35 bucks for the second PEANUTS book) but I dig Kevin's work so much.

    If you haven't gotten the DRAWN AND QUARTERLY SHOWCASE, pick it up. Good stuff.

    Neil Kleid


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