THE WILD KINGDOM (Drawn & Quarterly)
Written & drawn by Kevin Huizenga
Collects sections from Supermonster #12 and Or Else #4.
I was really excited about Kevin Huizenga’s The Wild Kingdom, especially after reading and loving the first three issues of Ganges. After immersing myself in this year’s most interesting indie books for a gift guide over on UGO.com, most of which I haven’t read, I decided to actually buy some books and actually immerse myself in a few indie books I’d heard good things about or enjoyed previous works by the creator. So, I bought Wild Kingdom, which had just come out, Black Hole and Jimmy Corrigan. I was impressed with Wild Kingdom‘s presentation, the cover is rad, and the book itself is actually a little hardcover that reminds me of books I had when I was a kid.
I really wish I understood/liked this book more than I did on the first read. I just don’t get it. The book is supposed to give some inner meaning to the world of nature, but I didn’t pick up on any of that while reading. Instead of being a full-on story, the book consists of a series of stories told that are supposed to relate to each other on a kind of esoteric level, many of which star Glenn Ganges. Between faux commercials for the Hot New Thing 2 and lots of appearances by writer Maurice Maeterlinck, but over all it felt really obscure and cerebral in a way that didn’t quite grab me like moments in Ganges did. There were bits I liked throughout, but I can’t say I enjoyed this as a complete work because so much of it either didn’t make a lot of sense to me or just wasn’t all that interesting (like reading an excerpt from one of Maesterlink’s books). I’m not saying the book is bad, I’m just saying it wasn’t really for me at least on this first reading.
I wish I had read Chris Mautner’s Comics College on Kevin H before purchasing or borrowing the book from someone else. He rated it as “Avoid” not based on the quality of the work but on how dense it is. For whatever it’s worth, Huizenga’s interview over on Avoid The Future didn’t help clear things up, though it is an interesting read. Overall, I wish I had done a little more research and bought the Curses collection instead, but maybe another reading down the road will change my mind.