Page 45 Review by Stephen
"This book messes with your head so beautifully you would think you were married to it."
- Tom in his preview
From the creator of Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month CURSES.
One of the aspects of Huizenga's work that often escapes discussion is that he's so very funny. Whether it's the clip-'em-and-collect-'em spotters' guides ("BEETLE. 'Black Night' Dangerous. Unite to form Devastator. There is no you. Attaches to eyeballs") or the hilariously over-extended saga of the pigeon in the road who (flashback!) stopped to gorge itself on stomach-cramping chips only to find his dizziness leading to disaster.
This is the Wild Kingdom of nature at uneasy home in suburbia, and everyman Glenn Ganges uneasy with everything. His house plants are dead, his apples are rotten, and bugs bite him at night. It's a series of short stories and features that reprise them. The diagrams and glossaries put one in mind of Chris Ware, especially since it's one enormous mid-life crisis of bewilderment and anxiety, and a futile attempt to stave them off with labels that lie and the reassuring promises made by advertisements for the latest Hot New Thing. They flash before us day after day in a mind-numbing, epilepsy-inducing stroboscope of more things to worry about not possessing yourself. You need this product, on SALE now! Hurry while stocks last!
"Do you suffer from any of these symptoms: coughing, sleeplessness, nausea, bad credit ('Sigh... Is it that obvious?') or no credit? Hay fever, chest pains, wrinkles, fat droopy jowls, nausea?
"Well now there's Hope for people ages 30-83. ('I can breathe again.')
"Ask your doctor for more information. See our ad in The Comics Journal.
"Side effects may vary: difficulty breathing, heart attack, nausea, angst, Schadenfreude, rabies, reactionary politics, or shyness."
Meanwhile the Famous Ghost (long-forgotten Belgian symbolist playwright and semi-philosophical essayist) recalls his former triumphs musing on religion, fate, and "nature's great and terrible puzzles" in a series of books like The Life Of The Bee (1901), The Life Of The White Ant (1927) and Pigeons And Spiders (1936).
"They might strike an early 21st Century reader as eccentric popular science written by an elegant depressive, as well as funny, insofar as one might find endless, misguided metaphysical digressions of Eeyore-like negativity funny. All my books are out of print."
The book culminates emphatically in a single minor interface between nature and science (our previously identified pigeon and an overhead electricity wire) that leads to an Armageddon whose elegantly choreographed escalation had me weeping with laughter.
We're doomed! (Although you could try Prozac Extra Palliative - the H.N.T. with 45% extra What Planet Am I On?)