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Book Review < Back

Sshhhh!

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Jason
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Commentary

Norwegian born cartoonist Jason made a splash in the pool of independent comics with the release of his first graphic novel, Hey, Wait..., a whimsical, but deeply moving, coming of age tale. With his follow-up, SSHHHH!, he continues to develop his knack for conveying complex emotions and ideas through remarkably simple storytelling, while at the same time venturing into meatier, esoteric territory.

I'm not sure SSHHHH! is the type of book you're supposed to completely understand. As the title implies, it's told without the use of dialogue or captions and drifts seamlessly between reality and surrealism. It's broken into ten chapters, each one a self-contained "adventure" in the life of a common joe (personified as a crow-man) that thematically interconnects to create a much broader canvas. But if I had to pick one linking theme here, it would probably be "lifecycles". There's a circular flow to these stories that depicts longing, euphoria and loss as a recursive chain of events. SSSHHH! is at times poetic, at times allegorical, and sometimes just plain nonsensical. Like life, it's sometimes hard to put a finger on.

The one thing I do know is that these stores are intended to be read and reflected upon. It's the type of book that you take by yourself to a park on a sunny day to refocus your mind on the simple things that tend to pass us by during the daily grind.

-- Peter Aaron Rose

 
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.

 


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