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Curses Hardcover – December 12, 2006

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Huizenga has created some of the most remarkable comics of recent years, and this volume collects stories published in anthologies and random comic books. Huizenga's work, drawn in a deceptively simple and quietly expressive cartoon line, is marked by a focus on philosophical quandaries. Nearly all of his stories take place in an anonymous suburbia, and his everyman protagonist, Glenn Ganges, is a likable character possessed of a Charlie Brown–like calm. The strongest story in this book, "28th Street," is a fanciful meditation on fertility in which Ganges turns to supernatural solutions for his all too corporeal problems. Another excellent story, "Jeepers Jacobs," explores the nature of heaven and hell through the fictionalized work of a theologian protagonist. Another story, "Green Tea," is an adaptation of a 19th-century thriller. It's quite a range, and Ganges's thoughtful wonderment at all of his experiences opens up the world to the reader. Huizenga is an inclusive, empathic artist who communicates without lectures—rather, he simply shows the world as it might be and allows us, through Ganges, to experience it with him. His excellent ear for dialogue and measured prose style accomplish this without flash. These are wonderfully considered, profound comics. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Glenn Ganges' sober countenance has peered out from Huizenga's philosophical comics tales since his introduction to the graphics universe in the early 1990s. In Huizenga's largest collection featuring the blank-faced protagonist, Ganges is a quizzical mouthpiece for the artist's observations on the startling and surrealistic nature of the modern world. In "Green Tea," Ganges recounts an episode from university days, when a tea-fueled research project on hallucinations triggered his own visionary experience and had him digging through a nineteenth-century psychiatrist's papers for explanations. "The Curse" follows Ganges' mission to steal the plumage of a "feathered ogre" and remove a curse that is keeping him and his wife childless. Other tales disclose hidden connections between missing children and Sudanese lost boys and unearth surprising details about starlings. Huizenga's masterful, multitextured drawing style proves equally suited to depicting rainstorms sweeping through mini-marts and landscapes in the style of classical Japanese paintings. Unlike many graphic artists whose self-written texts suffer in comparison with their higher quality drawings, Huizenga's scripts are consistently crisp, witty, and engaging. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (December 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894937864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894937863
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Glenn Ganges sounds just like someone you probably know. He's in his mid-to-late 20s, slim build, slightly balding, and lives with his wife in a smaller American metropolis. They've been trying to have a baby for some time, but without success. He enjoys reading about the unknown, and thinking about the little things in life that most of us bypass with barely a second thought. On the surface, Glenn could be that friend you had from college - the one you used to study with late at night over coffee at an all-night diner (you remember that guy, don't you?).

Except for one thing: Glenn Ganges is a fictional character in Kevin Huizenga's comics repertoire. This is a simple, obvious fact which is easily overlooked throughout Mr. Huizenga's latest book, Curses. Glenn's just got that kind of a personality. Bigger than life? No. Stands out in a crowd? Not in the least. But he is charming in ways that don't exact great amounts of understanding from the reader. That is to say, the reader has known Glenn Ganges throughout his or her life, and it is wholly natural to allow him back in.

What Mr. Huizenga does with such a regular-guy-type character is amazing, though, and proves to be the strength of Curses. The reader isn't exposed to thinly-veiled autobiography or self-indulgence (as is the case with Bren Collins' 6 Ways from Sunday franchise), but to worldly stories that could come from anywhere. "28th Street," for instance, is a stirring Glenn Ganges story which originated as a folk tale from Italy, and has been filtered through Hometown, America for the reader's consumption ("Hometown, America" in this case happens to be Grand Rapids, MI - perhaps the epitome of any North American city of moderate size).
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Format: Hardcover
As poignant and dead center an evocation of suburban life at the turn of the millennium as anyone could hope for. Sort of a post-modern O'Henry (though it's much more fun than that makes it sound), Huizenga skewers the absurdities and obsessions of modern life without ever losing his compassion for his characters. A real winner! Glenn Ganges IS everyman.
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Format: Hardcover
Kevin Huizenga, Curses (Drawn and Quarterly, 2006)

I think that, were Glenn Ganges a real person (and I believe that he is, at least partially, Kevin Huizenga himself), that he and I would get along famously. Ganges seems to take an approach to the world very similar to my own, and we have things in common I never expected to find I had in common with, shall we say, an artist's rendition. Thus, I will freely admit to bias in my review of Curses, Huizenga's first book of Glenn Ganges stories. (A second, Ganges, was released the next year by Fantagraphics.)

The Ganges stories here vary greatly in length, from a three-page quickie that appeared in Time magazine to a forty-page adaptation of a Sheridan LeFanu story ("Green Tea", for those keeping track). Ganges and his wife are the only solid connectors between the stories, but incidents and characters crop up again and again in different stories, so the volume has more of a feel of coherence than it otherwise would. Much of it reads rather like a magical-realist memoir; there's a realistic setup (e.g., Glenn and his wife trying to have a kid...) that leads to a thoroughly absurd conclusion (...and the only way to do that is to steal a feather from an ogre who lives somewhere beneath 28th Street), or vice versa. It's a good deal of fun, and Huizenga's somewhat minimal drawing style is adaptable to just about anything (and there's some wonderful versatility to be found between these pages). Definitely worth a look. ****
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By H on February 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my boyfriend and he really liked it. It's big and the illustrations are cool. No complaints.
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