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The Troll King Paperback – August 5, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Swedish cartoonist Karlsson's first book is the closest thing comics have yet produced to, say, Devendra Banhart's music: psychedelic, shambolic, mystical, very hairy, and redolent of musk. It's low on text--there's no dialogue at all in its second half--but high on... well, any number of things. The book is a series of linked stories about various woodland monsters; its first piece concerns a pair of fur-covered, bodybuilding creatures who are married in a dance ritual witnessed by a burning wicker figurine. Karlsson's artwork has some obvious inspirations from a previous generation of art cartoonists--there's a little of Mike Diana's violent/sexual grossouts and fanatically intense mark making, a little of Jim Woodring's silent, fantastical world-building and supersaturated color palette--but it's also got its own heady aesthetic, shifting between crude, wobbly rendering and subtle attention to details of body language and facial expressions. His stories are vivid as a fever dream, very vaguely grounded in the real world (a few characters shop at a chain supermarket), but mostly sweaty, uncanny, and intuitive rather than logical: this is the kind of book whose most straightforward story involves a bulbous carrotman who wades into a hot pool and is transformed into an enormous tree.
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Review

Swedish cartoonist Karlsson's first book is the closest thing comics have yet produced to, say, Devendra Banhart's music: psychedelic, shambolic, mystical, very hairy, and redolent of musk. It's low on text--there's no dialogue at all in its second half--but high on... well, any number of things. The book is a series of linked stories about various woodland monsters; its first piece concerns a pair of fur-covered, bodybuilding creatures who are married in a dance ritual witnessed by a burning wicker figurine. Karlsson's artwork has some obvious inspirations from a previous generation of art cartoonists--there's a little of Mike Diana's violent/sexual grossouts and fanatically intense mark making, a little of Jim Woodring's silent, fantastical world-building and supersaturated color palette--but it's also got its own heady aesthetic, shifting between crude, wobbly rendering and subtle attention to details of body language and facial expressions. His stories are vivid as a fever dream, very vaguely grounded in the real world (a few characters shop at a chain supermarket), but mostly sweaty, uncanny, and intuitive rather than logical: this is the kind of book whose most straightforward story involves a bulbous carrotman who wades into a hot pool and is transformed into an enormous tree. (May) --Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (August 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603090614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603090612
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,246,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Haller on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I mean this in the most positive way possible... What the heck did I just read?!? I enjoyed it. But I have no idea what it was about. It's kind of like a strange dream.

This book is NOT for children. It's not because of the (loose) plot of two gay men (trolls? beast? things?) having and raising children in the woods. Nor for the cartoon nudity, that for the most part is very tasteful. This book is not for children because of the display of sexual acts. There is also a scene where the men, who are never given names, give birth to their children. Yes... it is as weird as it sounds. The men give BIRTH!

Also, integrated into the story are short... I guess you would call them fairy tales, that are even more strange and not-for-children as the main plot.

Again, I very much enjoyed this book. The art work is wonderful, very personal... I've never seen anything like it. The limited, flat, color pallet is used for a wonderful graphic effect. My only problem with the book is that it took me no time to read, less then an hour. It left me wanting more of it's very, very strange world. And I'm not sure what message I was suppose to walk away with... but maybe there wasn't one to "get".
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I'm in love with this book. I bought it a couple years ago and the art completed floored me. The story is like nothing I've ever read before... it's psychedelic and a bit insane, yet also reminiscent of Norse folklore. The paper is thick and beautiful, the colors vibrant, and the imagery is open to interpretation. Awesome!
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