by Kevin Huizenga
I loved the first issue of Ganges, Kevin Huizenga's title in Fantagraphics & Coconino's Ignatz line of high quality oversized comics, and honestly didn't know if he would ever be able to meet or exceed the quality in future issues. Oh, how wrong I was (and delightfully so!)
The second issue of Ganges–which like the first centers around Huizenga's everyman character Glann Ganges–consists of two loosely-linked stories. The first is nothing less than a head-trip that somehow combines the aesthetics of Larry Marder's Beanworld with a Japanese fighting video game (a la Mortal Kombat). It's a tour-de-force that on its own would make this a comic worth our attention, but that's only the first third of this comic. It segues into the second story, "Pulverize," which begins by revealing that the game is one that the titular Glenn Ganges has been playing late at night. Glenn then falls into one of his frequent reveries in which he remembers his time spent working at a turn-of-the-century Internet start-up, and the frequent after-hours sessions the employees there spent playing a multi-player first-person shooter, Pulverize. Any further plot summary wouldn't do justice to the story, but suffice to say that Huizenga deftly interweaves his narrative, playing with the interaction between the real and virtual in a way that appears much more effortless than it is.
If there was any question as to Huizenga's role as one of the top cartoonists of the decade, Ganges #2 safely puts those questions to rest. There's no doubt that this comic will appear on my eventual best of 2008 list.
Rating: 4.5 (of 5)