By Dustin Cabeal
Anti-Gone is a strange ass book. I both recommend it but acknowledge that there are some problems with it. The first is that it intentionally never tells you the landscape of the world, but never quite lays out the entire world for you via the art or dialogue either. Usually, I’m not bothered by this, but the story obsess about other smaller details which makes it strange that it never gives you the big one.
The first half of the book caught my attention. The fact that so many of the panel choices broke the norm of comics. There are tiny and more miniature panels throughout the story. It's not something that would work for every comic, but it works quite well for Anti-Gone. The story follows a man and a woman on a boat seemingly in the middle of the ocean. They stop by an island before heading back out. There’s a very dystopian, end of the world type of vibe to everything. This is amplified by a dude on a jet ski that is wearing all black and has great big eyes popping out, but no face to go with it. His bag is magical and contains a ton of stuff that wouldn’t be able to fit inside it.
From here, our duo makes their way to the city which is covered in water. There are more strange creatures, some mutant looking people, and an alligator type thing that they take as a pet. The city isn’t that different from our world now, just that there’s water everywhere and the currency is random.
I couldn’t stop reading Anti-Gone. It made me always want to read more, but mostly because I was hoping for answers about the story. What was the relationship between this man and woman? Yes, they have names, but they didn’t feel important to know. The woman seems almost annoyed or just done with the dude. They come across as two different types of people; she’s a reader, he only cares about movies. The book never answers the question of why they’re together or anything about their relationship. The ending was also a bit too abstract, but only because the salesman on the jet ski makes an appearance and it didn’t make any sense to what was happening on the page.
The dialogue was good, it was believable and little things like pauses and interruptions while talking were fluid and believable. Again, it’s a credit to the writing that I couldn’t stop reading the book. Even flipping through again for this review, I found myself locked on several pages. It was just that nagging feeling left me with that bothered me. Not that I expected a clear-cut ending and answers, but just something a little more concrete.
The art is in all black and white. There is a very free-flowing style to it, with panel lines being non-existent most of the time. It never difficult to follow along and it allowed for a lot more movement to be added between frames. The line work is detailed. The exaggerated creatures and people look like something you’d see in the 80s. It sometimes reminded me of Holli Hoxxx in that it was channeling Heavy Metal. The art was a big reason why I was sucked into the story.
It's weird because I like this book but again can acknowledge the faults it has. Anti-Gone isn’t perfect, but it’s so damn interesting it’s hard not to recommend. If you like strange, weird comics that maybe don’t make sense by the end, but still intrigue you… then check it out. If you don’t like any of that, then this isn’t the book for you.
Creator: Connor Willumsen
Publisher: Koyama Press