From Publishers Weekly
In Hornschemeier's third major work, the clearly inked panels of a framing story show the main character, a comics artist named Paul, on a walk with his father. The touchingly honest conversation between father and son is intercut with stories that include childhood memories and Zeno's presentation of his three paradoxes to a group of Athenian philosophers. The book's funniest moment comes when Socrates, upon hearing the paradoxes, interrupts to say, Man, no offense, but are you guys retarded
? and then goes on to berate Zeno for his insistence on the impossibility of change. A young luminary of experimental comics, Hornschemeier offers a brilliant narrative demonstration of the paradoxes in this graphic personal essay, in which the protagonist simultaneously connects with his past, mulls over his present and anticipates the future. The book is formally brilliant as well, with a dust jacket that peels back to reveal preparatory sketches on the hard cover of the book and stories that are each told in a different, fully realized style. Childhood memories are shown in newsprint comic color-dot style while Zeno's story is presented as pages torn from old comics, their frayed edges laid out on the white pages of the book. (July)
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In this structurally complicated memoir, Hornschemeier portrays the last evening of a visit with his parents in Ohio that, casual in itself, carries the tensions of his ambitions and of meeting, when he returns to Chicago, longtime correspondent-fan Juliane. "Paul and the Magic Pencil," a comics story resembling Jay Ward's Peabody and Sherman cartoons, which Hornschemeier is drafting seemingly as an exercise in self-encouragement, frames the main action, a nighttime walk with his father. The walk in turn encompasses Paul's mental flashbacks to "Paul and the Magic Pencil," a confrontation with a bigger boy when he was about sixth-grade age, the story behind the scar on the neck of a convenience-store clerk, and a comic-book account of the paradoxes of Zeno. The visit is the most realistically rendered narrative element, and each flashback is differently styled in figuration and coloration. If there is an educible point to this calm slice of common life, it is that memory, like arithmetical logic in Zeno's paradoxes, dissolves time. The artist, however, proves more impressive than the philosopher. Olson, Ray