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The Three ParadoxesReview - The Three Paradoxes
by Paul Hornschemeier
Fantagraphics, 2006
Review by Christian Perring
Jan 15th 2008 (Volume 12, Issue 3)

The Three Paradoxes is a ruminative comic book/graphic novel about an artist's visit home.  It's either quasi- or fully-autobiographical, reflecting on the artist's youth and his struggle to make sense of his life.  He goes for an evening walk around his old neighborhood with his father, and it brings back many memories of his childhood.  The past and the present are drawn in very different styles; the present is a little drab and detailed, while the past is bright and simple.  The artist also thinks about his current project, which he is having difficulty completing, and that's drawn in draft form.  There's also a story about the past drawn in the style of a faded old comic, and a fake old comic "Zeno and his Friends," a little beaten up and tattered, in which Zeno sets out his paradoxes of motion.  So this is an unusual work with its mixture of different styles as a way to reflect on the past and how the world changes.  It's clever and distinctive work, but it isn't that engaging.  The setting out of personal issues -- his relationship with his father, his internet romance, his childhood experiences -- is all so downbeat that it's hard to identify with him and there's little sense of drama.  Maybe all the different elements make sense to him, but they don't add up to a coherent whole for the reader.  So the book feels like an only partially successful experiment.  Hornschemeier's innovation is admirable, but hopefully his future work will strike a stronger emotional chord. 

 

 

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© 2008 Christian Perring

 

 

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.


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