May 12, 2016

Review -- Nick Drnaso's BEVERLY

Over on LOSER CITY, Keith Silva, Taylor Lilley, and I examine Nick Drnaso's debut book from Drawn and Quarterly, BEVERLY, in a piece we call

Red Ants Underneath: Nick Drnaso’s Beverly is a Soft Palette of Middle-American Suburban Ennui Porn Shoved Into Little Boxes

Growing up in the suburbs is like trying to pick up a tiny fillister head wood screw from a beige hand-tufted shag rug while your hands keep falling off. It breeds a smug frustration that reeks of sacks of liposuction fat and empty bottles of salicylic acid. It undulates with a gothic sensibility, as if the red ants are constantly pulsing under the flesh. It is a unique result of duck ponds next to shopping malls with tiered parking lots and a security force driving golf carts slowly around and around hoping to finally jostle some teens.
Minutiae becomes monumental in the face of everything-but-nothing to do. Daily life is written by soap opera hacks gacked out on Sinutab and stroking corrosion-resistant ball peen hammers. Fears and anxieties come from combining plaids with stripes, not guns or starvation. The social nuances of every interaction become tantamount to Gilgamesh crossing the Waters of Death. There is the eroticism of despair. What doesn’t exist is created in order for meaning to occur.
The weariness of entitlement, advantage, and prerogative all promulgate a strange kind of weirdness — this is what begets the ear on the lawn covered with the scurry of red ants.
And this is what Nick Drnaso seizes and bags in his debut graphic novel, Beverly, published by Drawn and Quarterly.

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