Monsters by Ken Dahl
It was a very strange, moving moment, watching him open this package and finally hold a book which took him three (or more?) years to produce.
I then told him that he HAD to loan it to me! I'm not going to SPX, where the book will debut, and Gabby (and MK and Liz) are going on a huge book tour after SPX, so Gabby won't actually be back in White River Junction, with comp copies that I could buy off of him for another few weeks. Gabby sort of laughed this off, (it was sort of a silly demand, since the book is now available for ordering) but later that night, when we were both pretty drunk after an open mic night at the local watering hole, I somehow managed to convince him to let me stumble home with the book.
I woke up the next morning and read it straight through in one go, and I've got to say, it's one of the best graphic novels I've ever read. The first three chapters were released as minicomics, so I had read about half of it, but MAN, that second half is something else, and doesn't disappoint. The book is about HERPES, and as I've been saying for years, I think this is one of the most important stories being told today. Something like 75% of the people in America have herpes, and yet we almost never talk about it, and most people get completely freaked out by it, based on misinformation and ignorance. Well, this book provides a lot of information, while still following a enthralling narrative. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK.
Gabby will do that thing where he sort of half-smiles and looks at his feet and tries to shrug this all off, but this book is an incredible accomplishment. The drawings are masterful, the pacing and arch of the story really pulls the reader through the book, because you need to see how it's all going to turn out, he uses cartooning in some really fascinating ways, and the production of the book is absolutely top-notch. Secret Acres went all out this time, and I suspect this book is going to really put them on the map. And as for Mr. Dahl? Well, I suspect this is only the first step of a long and distinguished career as one of America's finest cartoonists.
I don't care if you're another comics artist going there to sell your minicomics, or if you're a regular comics-reading muggle, but if you go to SPX and you DON'T get this book, YOU HAVE FAILED.