Graphic Novel Review: The Ticking by Renee French
Submitted by Joey Manley on June 9, 2006 - 23:53
I've updated GNR with a review of Renee French's bizarre, quiet masterpiece, The Ticking. Here's an excerpt:
Some of the most interesting sequential work in the book, on a panel-by-panel basis, explains and intensifies EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gaze as he narrows in on an object he wants to draw. Here is Edison, staring. Here is the scar on his dadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face. Here is EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, in profile, and his dadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, in profile, to show you the spatial relationship between EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gaze and the scar itself. Here is a fuller drawing of EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, so that you can see more clearly and precisely where the scar resides, and its spatial relationship to nose, eyes, mouth. And here is the drawing Edison made of the scar (complete with a diagram, over in the margins, of the scarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s placement in the world, the other objects and things that live around it). And so on. Edison watching water drip off of his own fingers. That sort of thing. EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s infatuation with the small and the ugly Ã¢â‚¬â€ which is the defining element of his personality, and the only thing that makes life bearable for him, maybe, given his deformed facial features Ã¢â‚¬â€ is what puts him at odds with the rest of the world, represented by his dad, who is similarly deformed, but who has dedicated himself to hiding and/or Ã¢â‚¬Å“fixingÃ¢â‚¬Â the aesthetic imperfections that Edison chooses to investigate and celebrate. That conflict plays out almost like a regular story (but, yeah, not, um, quite). But, as mentioned before, the story doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter all that much, really.
The Ticking is about drawing itself, the act of drawing Ã¢â‚¬â€ Renee FrenchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drawing, Edison SteelheadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drawing Ã¢â‚¬â€ as an act of performance, as a way of engaging the world, inventing the world, defining the world, understanding the world, putting the world in its place. The drawings are all that matter; they are all that there is to this book (on the most literal level, of course, as well as the metaphorical, thematic level) ... read more ...