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Book Review < Back

No More Shaves

Credits: Written by David Greenberger and Illustrated by various artists
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Commentary

Working as an activities director in an all-male nursing home, David Greenberger began to interview his residents and record the conversations in a zine he called Duplex Planet. In Greenberger's own words, his Duplex Planet project is not simply a collection of oral histories from America's senior citizens, but rather the presentation of "a range of characters who are already old, so that we can get to know them as they are in the present, without celebrating or mourning who they were before." Over the years, Duplex Planet has grown into a variety of media - comics being one of them - and NO MORE SHAVES is a collection of some of these stories. The end results are charming character sketches filling in the negative space around complex, colorful lives.

Greenberger eschews the idolatry that so often comes in approaching the elderly, feeling that kind of pedestal placement creates a disconnect to which we cannot relate. Instead, he says, "Wisdom comes with knowing a person well enough to recognize their particular take on the world. It comes in the rich language of personal poetics, accidental utterances, and exuberant expressions that are the result of the brain working faster than the mouth." And NO MORE SHAVES is full of these personal poetics, drawn by a range of artists raging from the sublime to the primal, creating a canvas as rich and varied as the stories told. NO MORE SHAVES joins an all-too-slim selection of comics, those that are rife subtle sincerity and devoid of all irony, biographical stories of everyday lives made spectacular by the people that lived them.

-- 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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