Friday, February 24, 2012

Can't Get No Graphic Novel Review

Can't Get No
DC Comics
Graphic Novel
352 pages
$19.99 (2006)
ISBN 9781401210595

Contributors: Rick Veitch

Synopsis: Chad Roe has the perfect life - CEO of an up-and-coming company (which sells the first truly permanent marker, Eter-No-Mark), beautiful wife, great house, and enough pills to keep him comfortably numb through the whole thing.  His life turns out to be a fragile facade just waiting to crumble at the slightest touch.  It starts with a massive lawsuit threatening to bankrupt his company leading him to a drunken night of debauchery.  In the cold light of day he faces with unbridled horror the discovery that his companions from the previous evening have covered him in Eter-No-Mark from head to toe (even the little toe in his pants).

Chad Roe's life is in the toilet - things can't get much worse...or can they?
His world comes crumbling down on September, 10, 2011 and he flees to the streets of New York as a social pariah.  Suddenly the unthinkable happens and the world changes forever.  He makes his way along the roads of America and experiences the dysfunctional spirit of America - broken and warped by years of social disintegration.  Can he find salvation among the ashes of liberty and justice?

Veitch captures the horror of 9-11 with simple pictures
Pros: Massive page count, Veitch's art is simple yet persuasive, interesting story concept and presentation (landscape format with no word balloons for talking, just narrator text boxes)

Cons: Black and white, funky landscape format (I know, it's unique and outside of the typical comic book stereotype), surprisingly quick read despite page count, text and art often felt disjointed, a lot of pseudo-metaphorical/allegorical wordplay

 Mike Tells It Straight: Veitch is one of the great modern comic book storytellers and he crafts a truly unique experience both for the reader and main character of Can't Get No.  The blend of Chad Roe's misfortune against the backdrop of 9-11 was a remarkable contrast which turned into an allegorical ride through modern America.  The book is told in landscape format with simple art and simple text boxes, but Veitch is a master sequential artist and he makes difficult story composition look easy (it's anything but).

The recommended reading style of this book is to first view the art on the page and then read the text boxes superimposed over the images.  The words and pictures feel disassociated from each other and it's up to the reader to blend them together (if possible).

This book is definitely not for everyone and a lot different than I expected.  I felt the disassociated words didn't enhance my reading experience, but eventually found the groove Veitch intended to create for the reader.  It's an incredibly alternative format and story - not recommended for most readers except those looking for something very different.  If you hate reading poetry then avoid, but if you want a quirky tale light years away from mainstream comics then go for it.

TO BUY and Recommendations: