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Megahex Hardcover – September 21, 2014
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“For a series about slackers, these books are remarkably emotionally visceral and intense.”
“Simon's the real deal, for sure. He Captures that stoner stay-at-home life so accurately that I actually find his comics really depressing and thank God I don't ever have to hang out with anybody like that ever again.”
- Daniel Clowes
“Megahex… is an existential stoner tale that is part Furry Freak Brothers, part Beavis and Butt-Head, and part Jean Paul Sartre (with some Jackass thrown in for good measure)…. It would be easy to dismiss Megahex as another stoner comic. But there’s so much lurking beneath the seemingly superficial surfaces -- questions about friendship, loyalty, love, drug addiction, sexual identity, and hopelessness. There are plenty of hysterical Darwin Award-worthy situations in Megahex, but that’s not likely to be your takeaway. And what you’ll leave with is far scarier than any spook house frights; the fear of looking deeply at yourself in the mirror and finding a monster (or nothing) in your place.”
- Gareth Branwyn, Boing Boing
“The strips are intricately drawn and painstakingly watercoloured, while the narratives are a gloomy insight into the lives of suburban down-and-outs. Reading... Hanselmann evokes conflicting emotions; the characters are hilarious, yet moments of desperation and true sadness emerge from the bong smoke.”
- William Stanforth, Broadsheet
“Featuring old-school underground comix, but with the style and serial nature of even older-school Sunday newspaper comics strips, Megahex is the sort of comic that could only gestate on the Internet, and only find final, full expression in book form from a publisher like Fantagraphics. [Rating: 4 out of 5 stars]”
- J. Caleb Mozzocco, Las Vegas Weekly
“Profane though it is, the narrative of three 20-something roommates casually tormenting each other mixes an intelligent understanding of depression and anhedonia with its crudeness.”
- Hillary Brown, Paste
“The story is depressing as often as it is funny, a cautionary tale that’s at its best when Hanselmann spreads his writing wings, extending beyond a gag strip into an honest exploration of his deeply flawed leads.”
- Publishers Weekly
“The best way to describe these comics to anyone who hasn’t read them is simply to say they feel complete, with everything precisely in its right place, as if Hanselmann’s tiny panels really were just little windows into a strange universe of post-college weirdos, slackers, and psychotics who just happen to be talking animals. ... Buy this because it deserves to sell a million copies.”
- Tim O'Neil, The A.V. Club
“[Megahex] adds up to a definitely non-heteronormative and often hilarious, and sometimes touching, reading experience.”
- Robert Kirby, The Comics Journal
“Megg and Mogg are unforgettable leads, and Owl and Jones are the perfect foils, and Hanselmann’s art pops off the page thanks to his gorgeous use of colour. Hanselmann is a consummate artist and writer.”
- Lee Henderson (The Road Narrows as You Go), The Globe and Mail
“Every time Megahex seems so self-aware and so cool, to exhale so loudly and profoundly at the banality of it all, it will inhale so deeply and fully that you can’t help but fill your own lungs along with it. ... What is the genius of Simon Hanselmann? His precise and natural sense of comedic timing? The food colouring he paints with? His turns of affection and sadism for his characters? What is the magic that he weaves?”
- Leonie Brialey, The Lifted Brow
“...Megg’s depression isn’t your garden-variety Prozac episode. She’s so invariably and subtly disconsolate and experiences such disturbing mood swings that it’s impossible not to feel at least a tinge of that heavy sadness. And because the book is funny, too ― they smoke lots of pot ― her depression seems that much more real.”
- Nicole Rudick, The Paris Review
“[Megahex] is the cruelest kind of laugh-out-loud funny. … There’s a sadness that pervades the whole book… but it builds a world of hilarious, odd, and sometimes downright mean moments that makes these characters feel real enough to be wholly entertaining.”
- Gene Ambaum, Unshelved
“Every page is beautiful. Every joke is funny. Every character is a complete asshole.”
- Nick Gazin, Vice
“What Simon Hanselmann does with his comics is what any artist and/or writer worth his or her salt does: take you somewhere, make you feel something. The most disturbing, and most exhilarating, moment for me in comics this year, or any year, must be Werewolf Jones taking a cheese grater to his testicles. Pure genius.”
- Henry Chamberlain, Comics Grinder
“...[T]he overall experience of Megahex is a complex one, far more complex than I first thought. There’s a real power in Hanselmann’s book…”
- Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet International
“Megahex... subverts all expectations. ... Looking at it you wouldn’t expect what looks like a stoner-comedy-romp to take the reader into such heavy material. To read Megahex is to get into the mind and past of the book’s fascinating author...”
- Shelly Atomic, Comics Bulletin
About the Author
Simon Hanselmann is a New York Times best-selling author who was born in Tasmania in 1981. He has contributed comics and illustrations to the Believer and Pitchfork, among other publications. He lives in Seattle, WA and on girlmountain.tumblr.com.
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I've read these out of order. I started with Amsterdam (#3), which is my favorite. I then read One More Year (#4), which is good. Now I've backtracked to this, the first one.
The two most principal characters are Meg, a witch with depression, and Mogg, her male cat/sex partner. The shape of the figures and names are the only similarities to the 70s strip called Meg and Mog. The other two characters that round out the main ensemble are Owl, the uptight friend who is the only one with a job, and Werewolf Jones, a party animal who takes every situation to a level far beyond not ok.
The major theme of this is stoner humor. That is something that I have never appreciated (not since I was 18 anyway). Mr. Hanselmann makes it readable and entertaining, with occasionally bits that are outright hilarious. I probably laughed aloud half a dozen times when reading this (Amsterdam was good for a dozen). This is particularly impressive because none of the characters are good people (used loosely) and are well described on the back cover by Daniel Clowes: "thank god I don't ever have to hang out with anybody like that ever again."
Warning: it's incredibly vulgar. Many will be offended.
If you've lived a boring suburban existence at any time - you'll recognize the antics and lunatics portrayed here. Simon Hanselmann is the next Daniel Clowes. Hands down the best graphic novel I've read in a year.