This is going to be one of those ARTBOMB reviews about reviews.
When the Xeric Grant winning-CHLOE was released, I got an email from ARTBOMB Poobah Peter Rose asking if I'd heard anything about it. "I guess it's the first Xeric book to be Adults Only," he mentioned, which in my experience always serves as a homing beacon to Peter. I hadn't heard a thing about it, and didn't think anything else about CHLOE until he wrote me back a few days later to tell me he'd picked the book up. "It's probably the most disturbing comic I've ever read," Peter said.
Now, this means two things: one - if it's not only Disturbing, but Most Disturbing to Peter... then CHLOE must be pretty goddamned disturbing indeed. Secondly, as a result, this meant that I, too, now wanted to read CHLOE.
So I read CHLOE.
The semantics of what exactly we mean when we say 'recommend' may be worth addressing here. I liked CHLOE, but I have no idea what the hell it is. There is the barest hint of narrative scattered throughout that never quite seems to add up to anything quantifiably logical, at least to me; then again, I've never been noted as the sharpest tool in the shed. I don't think CHLOE is about its story, though. CHLOE is about the trans-substantiation of the sexual viscera of its content into a palpable, physical reaction into its readers, something more than merely shocking for shocking's sake. Recalling both the stark, controlled nightmares of Al Columbia and the gonzo repulsive sexuality of Dave Cooper, Hans Rickheit has trolled his id and purged it on the page. And whether you're turned on, grossed out, or possibly both - THAT, dear reader, seems to be what CHLOE is all about. And, I don't know, I laughed an awful lot, too.
Equal parts sexual, pornographic, terrifying, and nauseating, CHLOE is a stomachache on paper.
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.