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Dead EndReview - Dead End
by Thomas Ott
Fantagraphics Books, 2003
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Feb 3rd 2003 (Volume 7, Issue 6)

Dead End combines two stories by Thomas Ott, The Millionaires and Washing Day.  Ott tells his tales with pictures only, with no accompanying text or dialog.  The images are in black and white, presumably made by first putting a black wax layer over a white background, and then creating the picture by scraping off the black wax with a stylus.  The effect is wonderfully dark and moody, the ultimate in graphic novel noir.  The first page of the first story shows a night scene of a car driving along a twisting mountain road, with its headlights piercing the gloom.  The next pages show the tense driver with a small suitcase on the passenger seat, who briefly takes his eyes off the road to check the case, and when he looks up again he is heading straight towards another car.  He swerves and crashes through a fence.  The people in the other car go with a flashlight to see what has happened to him, and their light illuminates his dead face looking up from the wreckage, his eyes still open.  On opening the case, they find it full of money.  The rest of the story follows the fate of each person who comes in contact with this money, which leaves a gruesome trail of death.  The other, shorter, story is more surreal, featuring a private eye following a person of short stature.  The pursuer find himself led on a stranger journey than he reckoned with.  Ott’s graphics are magnificently gloomy and gothic, and his ability to tell his story without words is marvelous.  Great stuff. 

© 2003 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Link: Fantagraphic Books

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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