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Review: Grotesque #4

Posted on March 4, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Grotesque #4

by Sergio Ponchionne



In the concluding chapter of Sergio Ponchione’sdreamworld masterpiece, themysteriously omnipotent O’Blique and theinquisitive Professor Hackensack wrap up allthe loose ends, as we see what happened tothe three protagonists of the first issue, andwhat Cryptic City is now like after the cataclysmicevents of #2-3. Oh, and we also learnthe meaning of life — all in Ponchione’s wildlyinventive, super-detailed graphics.

Published by Fantagraphics Books


More info, previews and how to buy here


Review by PD Houston:


This book came out in 2010, but I've finally gotten around to reading it and felt moved to post my thoughts about it. First thing that came to mind is, why did I ignore the first three issues? And why is Sergio Ponchionne not regarded as one of the top artists in the field today?! This book is absolutely gorgeous. Lush, bizarre, and moving. The type of comics art which you dwell on a single panel for minutes at a time. The amount of detail and skill in each drawing is astounding. The tones and colors along with the expressive line and brush work create a mood of deep inspection.



Obviously I'm missing something by not having read the first three issues, but #4 is still a completely understandable story in it's own right. The story this issue (and probably a sum of the entire series) is basically about the meditation on fantasy vs. reality and/or the meaning of life. It's a loose and open themed story for a general audience to think about, but the story still keeps us involved with the main characters Mr. Oblique and Professor Hackensack who mediate or narrate the theme of the book. Mr. Oblique in particular is a very interesting looking character with his flat headed evil grin ever present. Ponchionne knows how to irradiate creepiness in his work and Mr. Oblique is one of the creepiest looking characters I've ever seen in a comic. Having only read the last issue of the series I have no idea how the main characters ended up in this spot, at the end of an adventure of a sort. But not having read the first three issues, I don't think I've missed out on the point of the story. It's all right here in the final issue... What is the meaning of our lives?




The story ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, or a question for each reader to ask themselves. Nothing extremely confusing or annoying though as it seems pretty fitting considering the nature of the story that was told. All in all I liked this issue and even if I weren't able to read the first three issues, I'm pretty satisfied with this one alone. It was a gorgeous book all by it's lonesome.




Ponchionne's art reminds me of Jim Woodring, David B. and Al Columbia at times, but is uniquely his own style. If anyone reading this likes good comic art, then pick this book up, you will not be disappointed. Check the sample pages shown here for examples. This is a deep book despite it's emphemereal story nature because of Ponchionne's art. Me, I'll be sure to get ahold of anything Ponchionne does in the future and hope he does a lot more work soon!

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