By Max Andersson & Lars Sjunnesson (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-1-56097-740-7 (PB)
Very much in the far-too-large category of “why is this out of print and not available digitally?”, here’s a bizarre treat from long ago that you can still find with luck and persistence. And you should…
This manic lost gem is a startling and powerful excursion into the “collective unconsciousness of the Balkans” which resulted in a surprisingly compelling and funny tale from two of Sweden’s finest comic makers. It first emerged appeared in Death & Candy #2-4 before being remastered for this deliciously dark and daft tome which broke loose in 2006. Ostensibly, this is the account of a journey by the creators to Slovenia and an alternative cartoonists convention that spirals inescapably into a manic road-movie quest.
Just after they decide to reimburse an old friend for a story they had “borrowed” for their latest comic creation, an out-of-control ice cream truck begins shooting at them. After miraculously surviving, they discover amongst the debris an engraved grenade shell with the word “Sarajevo” on it. Taking this as sign that they must do the right thing, they resolutely embark on a Kafka-esque trip to the troubled Balkans. Along the way they encounter zombies, mummies, war atrocities and a man who has a refrigerator in his car containing the corpse of Marshal Tito (look him up if you have to and, in your next life, stay awake in history class).
Not to mention that rare breed of hound: The Bosnian Flat Dog…
More treatise than adventure, and savagely underpinned by the appalling realities of the Sarajevo crisis at its worst, this thought-provoking psycho-comedy has compelling pictures, dark whimsy and enough fourth-wall contravention to supply the reader with much metaphysical and social meat to digest long after they’ve finished reading. As surreal as it seems, though, there is still a distressing amount of truth still to be found amid the icons of the fantasy world. This is a damned compelling book if you want a read that will wake you up and not lull you to sleep.
© 2006 Max Andersson & Lars Sjunnesson. All rights reserved.