Nilsen uses spare renderings to create a haunting narrative that will leave you wondering whether you’ve read a book or walked through a dream.The Washington Post
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011, included on Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, and NPR’S Best Comics lists
A haunting postmodern fable, Big Questions is the magnum opus of Anders Nilsen, one of the brightest and most talented young cartoonists working today. This beautiful and minimalist story, collected here for the first time, is the culmination of ten years and over 600 pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe. A downed plane is thought to be a bird and the unexploded bomb that came from it is mistaken for a giant egg by the group of birds whose lives the story follows. The indifferent and stranded pilot is of great interest to the birds- some doggedly seek his approval, while others do quite the opposite, leading to tensions in the group. Nilsen seamlessly moves from humor to heartbreak. His distinctive, detailed line work is paired with plentiful white space and large, often frameless panels, conveying an ineffable sense of vulnerability and openness.
Big Questions has roots in classic fable-the story's birds and snakes have more to say than their human counterparts and there are hints of the classic hero's journey, but the easy moral that closes most fables is left here as open and ambiguous. Rather than lending its world meaning, Nilsen's parable lets the questions wander out to go where they will.
The expanded, special edition hardcover features an additional fifty pages of content, including other strips from Big Questions 1 and 2, the covers for all the serialized pamphlets of Big Questions, and a miscellany of sketches, maps, and other bird comics.
Praise for Big Questions
Rapturous, meticulous pen-and-ink pointilism... a sprawling, uncanny work about fate and death whose stakes spiral upward while its scope remains confined to a few small creatures' territory.New York Times
A singular, and singularly effective, art comic.NPR - Best of 2011
The real beauty of Big Questions is that it doesn't strive to answer. Through love, loss and tinges of dark humour, the meaning of it all remains as wide open as the landscape on which the actions unfold.
Nilsen offers an expansive, imaginative anthropomorphic tour de force... in this beautiful, elegiac saga.Miami Herald
Anders Nilsen must be a genius.Giant Robot
Absorbing and touching.Chicago Tribune