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No Capes Allowed: Only Skin and Optic Nerve

No Capes Allowed: Only Skin and Optic Nerve

By Josh Perilo

Man, oh man. If you like weird, then you are going to LOVE our picks for this week’s No Capes Allowed. We might even go so far as to call it a special “Weirdo Week” for NCA. But that would make all the other weeks feel inferior, so we won’t.

Kicking off the strangeness is a brand new graphic novel collection of a surreal series by Sean Ford called Only Skin. This is the kind of comic book that will just give you the creeps. In a good way, of course. But the creeps, nonetheless.

Only Skin kicks off when Cassie and Clay return to their hometown to look into the mysterious disappearance of their father. He owned a gas station at the edge of what looks to be a pretty depressed town that’s getting more depressed by the minute. That’s because Cassie’s dad isn’t the only citizen who’s gone missing. One by one, more members of this small community are vanishing, and the police aren’t helping by telling the worried citizens that everything’s going to be okay as long as “no one goes into the woods!”

So, where does everyone end up going? The woods, of course.

Add to the creepiness of the disappearances a practical joke-loving ghost (the white bedsheet with two eyeholes kind) who follows Clay around and torments him, and a well meaning gas station attendant who inexplicably falls asleep in midsentence, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a five star “what the heck”-fest.

Ford has an amazing ability to capture the emptiness of the American small town and his tone is pitch perfect. If the Coen Brothers made comic books, this would be one of them. It’s published by Secret Acres for $21.95 and is available this month.

In the non-graphic novel arena, there’s a new issue of a fantastic series that is three parts funny, two parts sad, and one part thought provoking. Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve 12 has two stories (and one micro-story) that will have you muttering “I SO know that guy!”

My favorite story of the two centers around Harold, a guy who gets an idea for a project that crosses horticulture and sculpture. He calls it… wait for it… Hortisculpture. And it’s as weird, awkward, and awful as it sounds. But you really root for the guy! You watch as he unsuccessfully pitches these monstrosities to his work colleagues, inlaws, and even close family members. No one seems to understand Harold and his years-long obsession.

And, in the end, it seems like Harold didn’t understand either. But I won’t give away what happens. It’s too perfect for mere words. Optic Nerve 12 is published by Drawn and Quarterly for $5.95 and is out now.

Have any suggestions about non-superhero comics you love? Leave them in the comments section below, and I might review them in a future post!

Tags: fiction, reviews, comics-and-books, no capes allowed

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