B IS FOR BELGIUM
I have been trying to read more graphic novels lately, because they’re best for shorter commutes, and because they offer a diverse, incomparable universe of international writers, queer characters and all things bizarre.
This one is from Belgium, the realm of bandes dessinée and I love it. Breathtakingly beautiful imagery and mesmerizing stories, some of which made me laugh like a maniac, some made me shed a tear (“We fly! It’s an aircase!” made me do both). But the best quality is the incomparable surrealism. It’s really tight, and smart, and timeless. These could easily belong to 1920s or 2020s. I have heard that surrealism has been experiencing a revival specifically in the medium of graphic novels, and I welcome this, because the two were made for each other.
And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more eloquent rendering of breasts and penis tips. So red!
The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen
Published by Fantagraphics Books in 2011