Let Us Be Perfectly Clear

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Overview

A cornucopia of existentialism, formal innovation and stylistic experimentation.Let Us Be Perfectly Clear is a collection of Paul Hornschemeier's full-color short stories and shows off his playful experimental side and his protean stylistic verve. Perfectly Clear brings back into print stories that Hornschemeier published prior to his Three Paradoxes Fantagraphics debut from a variety of sources—his own self-published Forlorn Funnies, as well as strips that originally appeared in independent magazines and ...

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Overview

A cornucopia of existentialism, formal innovation and stylistic experimentation.Let Us Be Perfectly Clear is a collection of Paul Hornschemeier's full-color short stories and shows off his playful experimental side and his protean stylistic verve. Perfectly Clear brings back into print stories that Hornschemeier published prior to his Three Paradoxes Fantagraphics debut from a variety of sources—his own self-published Forlorn Funnies, as well as strips that originally appeared in independent magazines and papers—none of which has been available to the book trade.
The book is designed as a "flip book" in the tradition of the old Ace paperbacks, with one side featuring comedic work (or as comedic as Hornschemeier's mind allows), and the other decidedly more morose. With almost every page, we see a new style, a new direction; with the resultant effect being that of an anthology by creators of vastly contrasting sensibilities.
On the "funny" menu, we are treated to Dr. Rodentia (an unfortunate-looking fellow with only apathy as his weapon), a detailed artist's catalogue exploring such modern masterpieces as "Accidental Late-Night Sex With a Radiator," musings on the cancerous nature of civilization as observed by a deceased cat and a cotton-based airbus, the scatological "Feelings Check," the ever pathetic Vanderbilt Millions and his fantasies of self-worth, and the multi-narrative story that started the Forlorn Funnies comics series: "The Men and Women of the Television."
Clearly, there is a fine line in the Hornschemeier lexicon between funny and morose.
On our "forlorn" plate we are served the cold examination of the dyslexic narcoleptic and his bungled plans of murder, a sea creature's balancing of morality and sustenance, the Western romance "Wanted," a metal man's self-destructive search for meaning, and the story the alternative website Ain't It Cool News describes as delivering "a complicated mixture of disgust and pity."Let Us Be Perfectly Clear demonstrates Paul Hornschemeier's versatility and breadth in an elegantly produced book that will appeal to connoisseurs of contemporary, cutting-edge cartoons and graphic novels.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection of Hornschemeier's short comics pieces displays the artist's enormous visual range-'60s-style gag cartooning, gritty caricature, spacey surrealism and a marvelous command of muted, flat-tone colors-as well as his consistently bitter, deadpan writing. He plays with forms and storytelling devices from the days when comics meant light entertainment, many of them filtered through his enormous stylistic debt to Chris Ware. (Even the book's flipbook design recalls Ware.) The best stories are the most surreal, like "Underneath," a wordless battle between two imaginary polar creatures, and "Everyone Felt It," a brief series of reactions without a context. But the overall tone is forced irony: in one typical sequence, a series of immaculate-looking pastiches (an old comic book, daily strips, a Sunday "Peanuts" setup) each end with a shaggy-haired hipster saying "Whatever dude." The book culminates in a suite of linked, flatly disaffected stories about television and escapism that never develop a point. Rarely has so much craft been applied in the service of so much unfocused nihilism, and the fact that Hornschemeier makes a gag out of it-a dumb cartoon called "Stupid Art Comics Are Stupid," followed by a harsh faux-academic critique-doesn't let him off the hook. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560977520
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 11/22/2006
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 1,451,495
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Hornschemeier lives in Chicago, IL, with his fiancée, Emily. He is the author of several graphic novels, including Mother, Come Home, Let Us Be Perfectly Clear, The Three Paradoxes, All and Sundry and Forlorn Funnies.

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