Micrographica (Top Shelf)

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micro-header.jpgWho knew a story about rodents playing on a fetid, rotting corpse could be described as "cute"? And get this: that image to the left there? That's pretty much the actual size of the original art in Renee French's strangely fascinating new graphic novel.


208 pgs. B&W; $10

(W / A: Renee French)


It seems wrong to write hundreds upon hundreds of words about this book, so I'll try to be brief. I'm not holding back because the panels in Micrographica were originally drawn smaller than postage stamps. I'm holding back because it's impossible to describe the awesomeness of this book, and more words won't bring me any closer.


First, a description: This book, printed larger than it was drawn, tells the story of two rodents, their two rodent friends, a crapball and a corpse. The rodents curse, throw crap, crawl on the corpse and say vile things about each other's mothers. The book sounds coarse, but this is one of the cutest and sweetest comics I've ever read.


The cover to Renee French's Micrographica.For obvious reasons, the drawings aren't very detailed. Their simplicity adds an elegance not seen in many other comics. But considering the original dimensions, the art is fantastic. It's easy to tell what's going on in each panel, and somehow French is able to articulate a range of emotions on rat faces drawn no bigger than a pinky nail. While reading, I found myself caring about these tiny rats as they crawled into the eye socket of a dead body and argued over the ownership of a ball of feces.


Indeed, there's something truly magical about Micrographica. Despite it's strangeness, it's the first book I would reach for if a friend told me they wanted to get into independent comics and asked for something to get them started. If that friend couldn't get past lines like, "Oh, a fart. Thanks, it feels so warm on my toes" and see the greatness of this book, I'd pretentiously tell them to give up pursuing indie comic fandom.


To make a short review about a tiny book even shorter, I'll say this: Micrographica is a cute, simple comic that, while it seems absurd, is as hilarious and smart as any comic can be. Read it for yourself if you don't believe me. | Gabe Bullard

Click here for a 6-page preview, courtesy of Top Shelf!

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