07 December 2004

New comics by Kevin Huizenga and Anders Nilsen

MONTREAL-BASED DRAWN & QUARTERLY Comics brings the two newest solo voices on their roster to Quimby's for signings: Chicagoan Anders Nilsen's "Dogs and Water" and Kevin Huizenga's "Or Else #1," putting his "Supermonster" mini-comics into a regular format. Huizenga's free-associative knack is best shown in "NST 04," which obliquely traces the course of an ill-fated relationship through light reflecting off tombstones at night, the smell of baking bread, and the overnight musings of the night owls at a burger shack whose name, "Katchor's," nods toward a master draftsman of urban night. It's quiet, modest work, but moving nonetheless. Nilsen's book, whose earlier work includes "Big Questions" and "Ballad of the Two Headed Boy," (which won a Xeric award) is more elusive, a succinct and apt summation of a troubling dream that includes more than one iteration of falling, and sudden stops that begin again, repeating the misfortunes of the protagonist, perambulating an open highway with a stuffed bear strapped to his back, encountering aggressive, antlered deer, inadequate rowboats on rocking water, blizzards, wolves bearing submachine guns in their maws, and gunshot girls dead on the verge as they're about to be eaten by wolves, crashing helicopters, mutes sent to help. It's a loving treadmill.

[Newcity, 7 December 2004]