I have to say that I haven’t run across very many comics in doing this blog. Really, I hadn’t intentionally done so in the case of The Book of Leviathan by Peter Blegvad. I wasn’t avoiding it, but to be completely honest, I didn’t even realize this one was a comic collection. It just sounded weird and I went for it.
(Note, for those following along in The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, this one was 1st for Madison Smartt Bell.)
Now, I tend to group the books I’ve read into categories. One such category is “the weirdest of the weird,” and then there is this book. Combining the surreal and the intellectual, simple art and complex art, philosophy and the nature of perception, The Book of Leviathan is one of the oddest comics I’ve ever come across.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to review this one. Since it is a comic collection, there is no overarching plot I can discuss. Quotes aren’t real easy or helpful either. However, we do have a baby that doesn’t have a face. His name is Leviathan. He carries a stuffed bunny around, thinks various metaphysical thoughts (though only ever actually verbalizing “Dep”), and ‘talks’ to a mysterious cat.
Let’s just consider a couple of strips (I apologize for the image quality, but if you really want to see the strips good then you should buy a copy of The Book of Leviathan for yourself). Since there isn’t a huge amount of text to quote, this seems like the best way to go. In the first, Leviathan contemplates the reversal of perspective presented by a mirror. Since left is right and right is left, he wonders what the reversal of himself would be. This he can imagine, but then he wonders what is the opposite of his bunny:
In the next strip, if you can believe this, the ghost of Hegel shows up to describe what such an anti-bunny would be:
I think these two strips present a pretty good picture of what The Book of Leviathan is all about.
Containing strange art, metaphysics, puns, and all sorts of other things, The Book of Leviathan is an odd little comic. It certainly has to be one of the odder ones I’ve ever run across. I’m not sure I fully ‘get it,’ but I enjoyed it. I know that much.