by Kevin Huizenga
Kevin Huizenga steps up to the plate to take a swing at the bleachers during his first turn at bat in the new high quality Ignatz series. A joint publishing effort of Fantagraphics Books and Italy's Coconino Press, the Ignatz series combines the focus on production values of the European graphic novel tradition -- superior grade, heavy interior stock, sharp duo-tone printing, full color wraparound dust jackets -- with the saddle stitched format and periodical release schedule of American comics, to forge a new hybrid with which to drive the medium forward at this time of globalization and artistic transition. Few, if any, are better suited to take advantage of this new synthesis than Mr. Huizenga.Ganges #1 asks the question, "Is it possible to intelligently examine domesticity in a comic book?" The five all new pieces provide the answer, and the answer is, "Yes." All five focus on the quotidian reality of Kevin Huizenga's graphic alter ego, Glenn Ganges (initially created for his self published Super Monster series and later appearing in the first issue of Orchid, as well as the acclaimed first issue of Drawn and Quarterly Showcase and his latest series, Or Else, also published by Drawn and Quarterly), and his wife, Wendy. In each of these pieces, thoughts, concepts and stories are converted to images in Huizenga's trademarked fashion, and combined with text and dialogue commentaries to create a dialectical rendering of the tension between subjectivity and objectivity and a series of various attempts -- characterized by their youthful callowness and longing curiosity -- at locating a harmonious balance between the two.
A common thread runs through all these stories and that is the concern with projecting one's self -- or at least one's sense of self -- through time. Glenn and, although to a lesser extent, Wendy are both haunted by time's irrevocable march and struggle to come to terms with it. A vaguely Hinduistic view of time's inherent cyclicality seems to be the source of some degree of solace for Glenn, and, on an extratextual level, to offer the reader a hint at the origin of his surname.
With self-reflexively analytical narratives which combine image and text in a bold variety of original arrangements that amply demonstrate his innate understanding of the capacities and qualities of the medium, Huizenga is currently creating some of the most consistently interesting and innovative comics on the market.
retail price - $7.95
copacetic price - $7.25
prices and availability current as of 25 October 2007