Familiar Face reviewed in Hamilton Spectator along with other graphic novels

Jazz great’s graphic biography barely needs a word

Hamilton Spectator    |    Mike Donachie    |    May 20, 2020

Drawn & Quarterly; 176 pages; $24.95

The prolific Michael DeForge, who never seems to stop finding new ways to make city life look ever more bizarre, is back with another tense book straight out of left field. Prophetically published just as the pandemic started to hit, “Familiar Face” is about a city that never stops changing. The streets, buildings and rooms twist and morph overnight, along with the bodies of the residents, who look at old photographs and can’t even decide if they’re in them. It’s the story of an unnamed narrator who has a job reading anonymized complaints made to the government, although it’s never clear if the complaints are addressed. It’s a bleak, paranoid existence in a pointless bureaucracy all depicted, as usual, in DeForge’s colourful, creative style. And, as usual, it’ll leave you pondering its meaning — and your own life — long after you finish reading.

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