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Hicksville Paperback – July 1, 2014
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“Dylan Horrocks is clever, funny, and very, very good at making comic books. His characters grab you and haunt you and even make you worry for them. Buy this guy's comics.He knows what he's doing.” ―FRANK MILLER, author of Dark Knight Returns
“[Hicksville] is . . . a celebration of the richness of the comics artform.” ―Detroit Metro Times
“A languid, Borgesian tale of love and theft that treats comics--and an unabashed love of the medium's folksy energy and rhythms--with poetic weight. [Hicksville] is a classic.” ―Austin American-Statesman
From the Publisher
Dylan Horrocks` Harvey and Ignatz Award-nominated graphic novel Hicksville was published in 1998 by Black Eye Books. Hicksvile was also named a `Book of the Year` by the Comics Journal and was nominated by three of its critics as one of the Top 100 Comics of the Century. Horrocks has contributed cartoons and comic strips to the New Zealand Herald, the New Zealand Political Review, Watchdog and other publications in that country as wel as magazines in New Zealand, Australia, England, USA, France and Canada. He is currently working on a new series for Drawn & Quarterly called Atlas, a graphic novel for Top Shelf and various other short stories. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Examples of such stories, not just about them, would be Ursula Vernon's Digger series and Adam Warren's Empowered. A lot of mature content in Empowered but some scenes will bring you to tears. Digger is just superb and (pardon the expression) deep.
Hicksville starts off a bit slow as it takes a little bit to figure out the pacing and the interweaving of the short comics, but once you get into the story and action really pick up. This book is Dylan's love letter to the comics world, his way of perhaps saying that the best comics in the world...are those ones that aren't published. And that sometimes the biggest and most talked about folks in the industry...aren't the greatest. Sometimes it's the small quiet ones that change the world. In many ways the story line reminds me of some of the subtleness of Twain's short story "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven" as Twain makes some of the same comparisons to that the greatest in a given area might be the ones that you've never heard of before.
The artwork takes a bit of getting used to, as it's not as well drawn as say Blankets or Fun Home Family Tragicomic...but it does have it's own style and grace to it, especially as he blends together the stories with the short comics--each having it's own style to set it apart. And sometimes the drawings and figures are so big that the frames themselves can't contain them and the characters take on a life of their own carrying the story with them.
If you're a fan of graphic novels or the comics industry...or even if you aren't--pick up this book and give it a read. Then read it a second or third time just to see what you missed.
Hicksville is self contained, consistent, and human. I never got into the whole DC/Marvel thing, but Horrocks' enthusiasm for comics history draws you in. And while he plays with that history, he weaves in compelling stories about people which are subtle and adult. Yes "adult", but not in any gratuitous way. Here, it is in the way that we have all experienced life as we get older. Relationships are confusing and sad. Wounds take time to heal. Quests for answers don't always (ever?) work out as we had hoped.
At first I was worried the art was too simple and sketchy. I quickly realized that I had underestimated his style. The frames have a smooth, even flow that carry you with an unhurried pace through the story. As the various threads begin to weave together, the drawings take on much of the burden of storytelling. And frames which don't need any words, don't have any.
You might go back to the beginning the first time you get half way through so you can savor the art and the story before all is revealed. Don't feel bad, his unassuming style (both in drawing and in storytelling) just lowered your guard.
I believe this is a great work.