March 15, 2007

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Curses by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly, 2006, 145 pages)
By Lucas Lund news@hippopress.com

The nine graphic stories collected here, first published by three different houses between 2002 and 2004, all deal with curses. All but one feature the same main character, Glenn Ganges. Huizenga does serve up some suspenseful moments, but in some of them he breaks stride with panels of exposition. A caution to those looking for the next dark and twisted story: Huizenga (pronounced HIGH-zing-gah) draws in a style more reminiscent of traditional newspaper strips than say, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. It’s refreshing to find that it is not the stories with the most heart, like “Jeezoh,” the story of the eponymous Midwestern American pagan idol (?!) who protects the ghosts of stillborn children, that struggle, but the longer pieces about religious men. Midwestern idols, gotta love it.

Two small weak points in the generally strong graphics: too little and too much consistency. In the first and longest story, “Green Tea,” I had to look back several times to figure out which of the two main characters in the Victorian timeline was speaking. As for too much consistency, I suppose Glenn’s brother should look a lot like Glenn, but do all the little kids in “Jeezoh” have to look like him too? These are minor points. Many times, like the cover art, Huizenga’s work is great. Unlike a lot of graphic writers, Huizenga can tell a story, and draw it too. A-