A surreal vision of a post-alien-invasion Earth where human beings still have to deal with quotidien frustrations, ennui, and understanding their place in the world.
Since the mid-1980s, the British cartoonist Chris Reynolds has been assembling a world all his own. On the surface, it seems much like ours: a place of cool afternoon shadows and gently rolling hills, half-empty trains and sleepy downtown streets. But the closer you look, the weirder it gets. After losing a mysterious intergalactic war, Earth is no longer in humanity’s control. Blandly friendly aliens lurk on the margins and seem especially interested in the mining industry. The very rules of time and space seem to have shifted: Mysterious figures suddenly appear in childhood photos, family members disappear forever without warning, power outages abound, and certain people gain the power of flight. A helmeted man named Jimmy is somehow causing local businesses to shutter and is being closely watched by the “trendy new police force,” Rational Control. The world is being remade, but in what image?
This new collection, selected and designed by the acclaimed cartoonist Seth, includes short stories, a novella, and the full-length graphic novel Mauretania. It is the ideal guide to all the mystery and wonder of one of the most underappreciated cult classics in the history of comics.
This NYRC edition is a hardcover with foil stamping, debossing, full-color endpapers, and extra-thick paper, and features new scans of the original artwork.
Welsh cartoonist Reynolds has been issuing "Mauretania Comics" since 1985; this well-designed volume, edited by cartoonist Seth, provides a definitive collection of Reynolds's enigmatic work. Set on a future earth where humanity has lost a war with mostly benevolent aliens, these comics string together slice-of-life narratives with the abstract tales that arise from a universe where cause and effect no longer meaningfully apply. The protagonist is the helmeted Monitor, who looks like a mod sci-fi movie hero and travels through a mundane landscape where daily life seems oddly unchanged despite the conquest of humanity. "The Dial" explains how the aliens' religion paved the way toward their quite polite control of humans. Short detective yarns and poetic fragments lead loosely through to the introduction of Jimmy, who joins Monitor in resisting the new order and perhaps saving the world. The sheer denseness of Reynolds's line, which is amply cross-hatched and looks to be drawn with fat Sharpies, pervades the comics with an encroaching sense of dread. In his foreword, Ed Park frames the "aesthetic ecstasy" of these loosely plotted comics, where more questions are raised than answered. The distinctive visual style and familiar themes of paranoia and existential unease will resonate with modern audiences and provide a collectible for those familiar with the series. (Apr.)