Graphic novel reviews

Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., The

Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., The

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Written by: Dash Shaw
Art by: Dash Shaw
Publisher: Fantagraphics
First published: 2010

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Dash Shaw seems set to become a name to be reckoned with in comics, with top-name publishers like Pantheon and Fantagraphics queuing up to publish his work. He made his name with short stories, published in anthologies like MOME. This book collects a selection of these together for the first time, alongside storyboards for some animated shorts that he created for the Independent Film Channel. The resulting volume is choppy but tinged with genius.

Shaw’s works of science fiction are awesome. There’s a beautiful story called Look Forward, First Son of Terra Two, which charts the lives of two lovers, though one grows old while the other gets younger. Squeezed into six pages, it’s an astounding achievement to create something so deeply complex, slip it into a genre setting, whittle it down to its essentials and still manage to make it poignant and thought-provoking.

Another fave, also in a science fiction setting, is Satellite CMYK. This 8-page conspiracy thriller manages to weave genius design into the story, pulling both use of bold colour and bonkers far-future post-apocalyptic horror into a unified and wholly satisfying short story.

If you’re more interested in human relationships than science fiction, Blind Date and Ignatz award-winning Galactic Funnels will be more up your street. But it’s the science fiction stories that seem to shine the brightest as Shaw experiments with form and style – a confident and skilled practitioner of the medium.

As you might expect from an anthology of stories, not everything will be to all tastes. But it’s a wonderful introduction to Shaw’s work, and should certainly find its way into the hands of those craving more.

By • Mar 7th, 2010

Tags: First published • 2010Rating • Art • 4 starsRating • Overall • 4 starsRating • Story • 4 starsGenre • AnthologyPublisher • FantagraphicsGenre • LiteraryReviewGenre • RomanceGenre • Science fictionWriter • Shaw, DashArtist • Shaw, DashGenre • Thriller

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