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Book Review < Back

The Book of Leviathan

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Peter Blegvad
Publisher: Overlook Press

Commentary

Peter Blegvad has just the sort of name that you'd expect necessary to make a book like THE BOOK OF LEVIATHAN, but then I always thought Geisel was a better name than Seuss. Blegvad's strip is collected in this remarkable little book from Overlook Press and it's a strange and wonderful thing to behold. If ever there was a comic that makes one feel as though they've lost the instruction manual, LEVIATHAN is it indeed. It looks like a cross between Chris Ware and Tony Millionaire. It reads like CALVIN AND HOBBES for suicidal atheists. And yet THE BOOK OF LEVIATHAN is paradoxically sweet, gentle, and quite unlike anything you've read before.

Leviathan - Levi - is an infant who almost always sits with his back to us; we see a round, smooth baby's head instead of a face. His cat (real) and bunny (not real) accompany him along the earliest adventures of his own consciousness, into a world nowhere near as wonderful as he deserves. He and Cat navigate puns and punishments, morals and mortality, complexity and plain old nothing at all. Cunningly drafted to appear like a cross between a turn of the century children's book of manners and a Pop Art tour de force, everything between LEVIATHAN's covers simply works. All of its parts, no matter how dissonant they may appear at first blush, are in fact forming a little watch-work wonder, something that dances the fine line between pretense and post-modern. LEVIATHAN is a language and rhythm unto itself.

Somewhere in-between naptime and the graveyard, with his non-existent eyes half-shut with sleep and sadness, Leviathan sits staring ever onward into his future the best that his dim little lamps will allow. Stop by sometime, and say hello.

-- 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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