Monthly Archives: December 2017

Dusting Off: Borb

Well, not quite dusting off (Borb was published in 2015 by Uncivilized Books) so much as catching up with a unique work in the line of Orwell, Bukowski and Jackson that’s also a tragic poem in graphic novel form. Woven from a collection of self-contained comic strips that could have been clipped from a few months-worth of newspapers, Jason Little’s dialogue-light panels recount the drunken very-misadventures of the alcoholic and homeless titular character. Each strip is a verse in the overall tragedy, superficially echoing a variety of down-in-the-gutter literary works, but completely devoid of any (even bleak) romanticism. Borb is still compassionate, if clinically so: Little’s vision is a surgically precise imagination of the anti-life of Borb, bleakly-lyrical as it presents the flaws that led to his downfall, the physical toll that alcoholism and homelessness wreaks on his body, soul and mind, and the lack of responsibility on the part of the modern polis that pins him tight in the gutter. And the narrative cycle of the book, starting in medias res and leaping back in time to the edge of Borb’s fall, threatens to implicate the reader in the whole process – proving no one gets out of this gutter unsullied.

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