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Book Review < Back

The Book of Jim

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Jim Woodring
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Commentary

The axiom that dreams only hold interest for the dreamer, and in fact bore the holy hell out of anyone else subjected to listen to their murky details is shattered within the subterranean pages of THE BOOK OF JIM. Unearthed, exposed to air, and left to breathe in the broad cold light of day, the guts of Jim Woodring's dream journal are at once cozy, alien, and more than a little too good to be true.

Best known as the mad visionary behind the FRANK books, Woodring's textural inkwork on these pages is haunting and sing-songy, understated and controlled even when portraying the most absurd or bizarre of his dream-moments. Woodring's dependable hand crafts imagery not only of the mundane but the fantastic, and the book is never better as when the two overlap: Jim finds a snake-cocoon in the trash; receives a phone-call from his father in the afterworld while his young son dashes off for Those Caves Over There; rides a spook-house ride of his own youth with, err, himself, trolling for lost horrors...

What's most perplexing is the sort-of universal language these pieces speak in, where even though the words and visions may have originated from Woodring's troubled brow, they are speaking in thoughts you've had and known. THE BOOK OF JIM stands on its two muddy feet, its bleary eyes focused on something just out of reach.

-- Matt Fraction

 
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.

 


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