[Leaving Richard's Valley] highlights the value of finding one’s place in a world that is constantly growing and changing... DeForge has skilfully created a twisted, bitingly funny parable about community and friendship in tough times.Winnipeg Free Press
WHEN A GROUP OF OUTCASTS HAVE TO LEAVE THE VALLEY, HOW WILL THEY SURVIVE THE TOXICITY OF THE BIG CITY?
Richard is a benevolent but tough leader. He oversees everything that happens in the valley, and everyone loves him for it. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his friends—Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog, and Ellie Squirrel—take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard’s strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they’ve ever known.
Michael DeForge’s Leaving Richard’s Valley expands from a bizarre hero’s quest into something more. As this ragtag group makes their way out of the valley, and then out of the park and into the big city, we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters, and more. DeForge is idiosyncratically funny but also deeply insightful about community, cults of personality, and the condo-ization of cities. These eye-catching and sometimes absurd comics coalesce into a book that questions who our cities are for and how we make community in a capitalist society.
Praise for Leaving Richard's Valley
DeForge is a machine; his work never stops being strange and beautiful and dark. I heard so many people talking about this strip before I stumbled across it and I couldn't help but consume it. You should read this and buy it for your friends AND enemies.Tommi Parrish, cartoonist of The Lie and How We Told It
[DeForge's] drawings consist of simple lines, flat perspective, and a limited palette of bright colors, but the worlds therein are a profusion of organic shapes that suggest a richness of interior emotion.The Believer
Cults, gentrification, supermodeling, and animals going crazy philosophising in the streets. Nature is cruel and hilarious! This is my favorite Michael DeForge book.Simon Hanselmann, cartoonist of Megahex and Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam
[Michael DeForge's comics] feel like an elaborate, extended joke — one that you really want to be in on.NPR
An absurdist shaggy-dog story... DeForge diagnoses the appeal and the anguish of life in any community where utopian ideals give way to desperate impermanence.The Globe & Mail
I don't know if I've read a better story about friendship and loss than Leaving Richard's Valley. I have so much love and sadness in my heart for these characters and their crumbling paradise. DeForge keeps proving himself to be one of the most inventive and empathetic artists working today.Carta Monir, cartoonist of Lara Croft Was My Family
Bizarrely idiosyncratic... Within DeForge’s wildly fanciful tale lie honest insights about the importance of community and the struggle to find a place in society, delivered in a richly imaginative and totally singular mode.Booklist, Starred Review
Oooh how much I loved reading DeForge's daily strip! Lyle, Ellie, Omar, Caroline, and Neville are such great characters. I instantly liked everybody, even stupid Jesus Richard. The way this comic looks is truly unique, every page is so beautiful. P.S. I was wondering the other day: Why is Julianne Napkin's fur so neat and shiny? Does he feed her a raw egg from time to time? Asking for a cat.Anna Haifisch, cartoonist of Von Spatz and The Artist