The Cartoon Utopia
by Ron Rege.
-This book took me a long time to read. It's difficult, but it's also a comics masterpiece. Seeing it in terms of form and content is the key. I admit that I can get cranky and midwestern about this kind of subject matter and the difficult forms these comics take, but in the end I came around and can see the crazy experience of enlightenment shining through, the kind of thing that calls for this kind of presentation. It can be frustrating as the book jumps from weird thing to weird thing, your mind working overtime: "is dis a system?" "Huh?" That's the point, in a sense. It's like this...no--it's like this... How to explain something unexplainable, how to give form to a whole full bodied experience of being a half-crazy human being with ideas about peace and harmlessness and how one thing connects to the next? It's one thing to write this stuff, it's a whole other level to try and draw it in comics form. Ron is forced to stretch the comics language to communicate this overwhelming "material." Every aspect of comics warps or breaks, trying to hold on, readability, panel border, panel logic, etc. Utopia means "no place" and "the perfect world." You try drawing a map to it! RR is trying to really get some tricky stuff down on paper, and so the comics are tricky to read. What an accomplishment.