On the shelf: ‘Incidents in the Night’ by David B.

By Drew Damron, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main 


I’ve been a huge fan of David B.’s comics since I first read Epileptic a few years back, and I think this new title is my favorite of his so far. I really like the surreal nature of Jorge Luis Borges’s stories, and David B.’s comics often share the same fascination with dreams and labyrinths. This book in particular takes a very dreamlike, scholarship-as-labyrinth, style of storytelling and simultaneously remixes it with a textbook on the history of religions and a pulpy crime novel.  It’s a very strange story but it’s very captivating.


What I love most about David B.’s comics is the way he is able to create such metaphor-rich visuals.  Every panel of his features some interesting iconic juxtapositions done up in a noir-ish flavor, and this particular book offers a very surreal, yet sophisticated aesthetic. Each drawing clearly presents his technical proficiency, yet his lines are executed with a shaky rhythm that kind of reminds me of the older Peanuts comics from Charles Schultz, and I think this little suggestion of sloppiness gives the dreamlike imagery its authenticity.  All of my dreams are fuzzy and often difficult to remember, so it seems to me that this story would be interpreted very differently if done up with very sleek line work.


If you’re in the mood for something new and a bit different, then definitely check this one out!