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The Wild Kingdom

Overview

The new master of Comics Experimentalism returns with his Everyman, Glenn Ganges

Standing out among his contemporaries, Kevin Huizenga’s subtle mastery of the medium has earned him countless accolades and awards. His comics are at once straightforward and experimental, serious and funny. His character is the suburban everyman Glenn Ganges, a modern-day Dagwood Bumstead, who tackles and stumbles with such heady topics as mysticism and science.

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Overview

The new master of Comics Experimentalism returns with his Everyman, Glenn Ganges

Standing out among his contemporaries, Kevin Huizenga’s subtle mastery of the medium has earned him countless accolades and awards. His comics are at once straightforward and experimental, serious and funny. His character is the suburban everyman Glenn Ganges, a modern-day Dagwood Bumstead, who tackles and stumbles with such heady topics as mysticism and science.

In TheWild Kingdom, Glenn Ganges blindly interacts with the nature of his suburban neighborhood: dead houseplants, a recipe for gray squirrel brain, and pigeons eating discarded French fries in the parking lot of a fast-food joint. Huizenga juxtaposes Glenn’s ignorance of his surroundings with television commercials highlighting society’s needs for cure-all pharmaceuticals and “hot new things” like teeth whiteners. Starting off wordless, The Wild Kingdom grows more complex page by page, ending with encyclopedic entries, biographical excerpts, anthropologic flowcharts, and a cataclysmic encounter of nature and technology.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This brilliantly conceived pocket book casually expresses a crystalline analysis of our own imprecise and muddled thinking. Formatted like a textbook from an alternate world where comics are the standard mode of discourse, it references general interest pop-science television programs like the titular "Wild Kingdom," complete with commercial breaks which punctuate the book's more overtly narrative passages. Sequences featuring Huizenga's everyman character Glenn Ganges depict the minor catastrophes that inevitably result from industrialized humanity's coexistence with the animal world, from an unwelcome insect at home to an ill-fated pigeon on a four-lane highway. The book's "commercial" sequences echo with the quasi-religious recurring phrase "I was saved from my own life," a slogan that points to the paradox at the heart of "man versus nature"—a perceived alienation from the natural world from which man springs; this schism is effectively leveraged to sell products promising transcendence from man's earthly origins. Huizenga's lyrical storytelling highlights the ways in which science, education, entertainment, and commerce have been hopelessly comingled, and the book's absurdist climax suggests that this state of affairs can't continue forever. Huizenga continues to forge a path as one of the most important graphic novelists working today. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Kevin Huizenga:

“One of the most promising of a new generation of cartoonists, Huizenga’s stories use a combination of the quotidian and the surreal to explore themes of science, nature, religion and family.” —Time

“With art that ranges from clear-eyed cartooning to swirly expressionism, Huizenga takes his characters through poetic explorations of the profound.” —The Washington Post

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This strange, abstract graphic novel defies easy categorization. Through the day-to-day life of a vaguely disaffected young man, Glenn Ganges, readers witness the uneasy relationship between humanity and the broader world of nature. For example, in the opening sections, the smear of a crushed insect takes on the form of the Nike "swoosh" while a pigeon, disoriented from eating fast food, wanders fatally into the path of a car. In the final scene, an eagle crashes into a power line and creates a domino effect that results in a worldwide apocalypse. The middle chapters are more opaque; scenes of contemporary angst and ennui overlap with snippets from bizarre advertisements and nonsensical animal facts. Beautifully packaged and intriguing, this book is unlikely to find a broad audience among high school students, but it will appeal most to those looking for a thought-provoking, modern, and unusual take on the human condition.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Douglas Wolk
The book is propelled by its own bank of reappearing motifs, which become funnier and more frightening with each iteration: Mutual of Omaha, a hapless squirrel, a "truth" fish that eats "Darwin" fish, the phrase "I was saved from my own life." Every few pages, there's a hilariously inventive piece of cartooning…
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770460003
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
  • Publication date: 6/22/2010
  • Pages: 108
  • Sales rank: 1,116,029
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Huizenga lives in St. Louis with his wife; he is the author of the graphic novel Curses and the comic book series Or Else and Ganges.

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