Paying For It is shocking and may come off as exhibitionist and gratuitous. This might be true. However, what this book does very well is offer a thoughtful and well developed picture of a man who not only justifies his use of prostitutes but also argues for their rights and privileges. As R. Crumb explains in his introduction, Chester Brown is a strange man. He seems almost devoid of normal human emotion, but somehow has found a whole new way of looking at love and sexual desire. His drawing style is simple, but attractive, and leaves the reader with a feeling of witnessing something clinical in a strange, uncolored, and unbiased way.
Silence Once Begun continues Jesse Ball's unique experimentation, startling originality, and deft, magician-like crafting of the novel. A string of disappearances occur in a Japanese town and Oda Sotatsu confesses to the crime. But even with a signed confession Oda will not say why he committed the crime. He will not speak about it at all and maintains this vow of silence, even after months of interrogation by the police and passionate pleas for explanation from his family. Ball remains at all times a superb story teller, and his labyrinthine search for the truth is always at odds with the limitations of facts spoken aloud and secrets hidden in silence.
Welcome to ClockWorld, an island of an amusement park where the greatest moments in history are recreated. Danny, the naive but loving hero of Dash Shaw’s New School (Fantagraphics, $39.99), travels to Clockworld to find his estranged older brother. There he enters a world as fantastic as it is consumed by the greed and depravities of history. New School is alive with history and pop culture, and Shaw’s use of florid coloring and experimental layering is visually arresting, captivating the eye with its cinematic and expressive pace. This is a great graphic novel for readers who love art as well as comics.