Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sloth, 49/100

I picked up the graphic novel Sloth while browsing the library, based on the title and cover art alone. It's kind of an inside joke that if I was an animal in my past life, it would've been a sloth. Attractive, right? can't tell me sloths aren't cute.

Sloth was written and drawn my Gilbert Hernandez, one of the creators of the Love and Rockets series, which unfortunately I'm not very familiar with. This title turned out to be very surreal, almost David Lynch-ian, with characters switching identities, an unreliable timeline, and a giant goat monster in a lemon orchard. The three central characters are able to will themselves in and out of a coma, apparently to escape the doldrums of teenage suburban living.

However, this boring suburb also has a quite a few suburban-legends: murders, bodies buried in the lemon orchard, and a goat that switches identities with intruders. And supposedly that's what happens in the middle of the story. Suddenly the reader is taken into something approaching an alternate universe, where the characters are the same, but their circumstances have changed. Drastically. Question is, is one of them now the goat? Is the goat whoever is wearing the sock cap? How did things change so drastically? What's the meaning behind that psychotic teacher? Why did they yell at that lemon farmer for no reason?

So many questions that, even re-reading most of it again, I still couldn't answer. The story was a puzzle that I don't think would ever form a whole picture. Perhaps the reader is supposed to make the picture on their own. Almost like Inception: entire internet boards could be filled with possible interpretations. But in this case, the vague, open-ended storyline just wasn't as successful or interesting. Even if I could figure out who was switching with who, I'm not sure I would care. There doesn't seem to be a point or focus behind any of it.

But there was one funny scene:

Run away fast. That's a Hannibal Lecter look right there.

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