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Parallel Lives

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Parallel Lives back

Oliver Schrauwen


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

"Now sing after me: Ski-bi dibby dib yo da dub dub."

"As soon as she starting singing, Ooh-lee proved up to the task...
"Making one of the worst songs in musical history sound even worse.
"She asked her friends to sing along...
"... and they gleefully obliged...
"...mocking to her face.
"She was singing her heart out...
"... bearing her soul to a crowd of 'friends' who felt nothing but contempt for her.
"They were all joined in a hate fest, in which she was the unwitting dupe.
"Luckily she was protected by her ignorance...
"Her inability to comprehend what was going on...
"Her absolute dumbness..."

She is singing "I'm a Scatman," by Scatman Joe, though, so perhaps we can forgive her 'friends' just this once...

Pure genius. It's extremely difficult to explain just how clever this work is. I'll let the publisher have a crack at it first...

"This collects six wildly inventive short comics stories that might collectively be dubbed 'speculative memoir.' Schrauwen's deadpan depictions of his and his offspring's upcoming lives include alien abduction, dialogue with future agents, and coded messages in envelopes at breakfast."

Speculative memoir, I like that term... I'll keep that in mind the next time the police are questioning me...

Moving on swiftly... there is also, in addition to his offspring, including Ooh-lee (think about it), his very, very weird father and amateur scientist, Armand, who believes he can communicate with the future. Without wishing to spoil anything whatsoever, well, he can. Sort of... One of the additional fabulous elements to this work, besides the whacked out stories themselves, is realising just how cleverly they fix together to form the most demented jigsaw.

In that time-hopping masterfully mangling-it-all-together respect, this collection has elements in common with Malachi ANCESTOR Ward's excellent and frequently overlooked FROM NOW ON. All the individual stories here are far, far odder mind you and the overall tone is intentionally very overtly darkly and stupidly humorous. But in terms of precisely how things fit together, it is as brilliantly and deftly done as David Mitchell's award winning prose work 'Cloud Atlas'.

Artistically... I am equally struggling to adequately describe this. The cover does offer a fair summation of what you will find within to be fair. It's... harshly forceful in the way it attacks your retinas... and your mind... and certainly makes a lasting, seared-on impression. It scared me slightly at times, I think, and yet I couldn't put it down. Our Jodie has just commented to me, when I asked for her artistic assessment, "it's like a nightmare in Vaporwave." I get that. But it's way weirder than even that frankly.

Just be warned too, this is very rude in places and extremely wrong everywhere. All the time. If you like your comics more than a little bit odd and challenging to one's senses and sensibilities, then this is for you.
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