The latest “issue” of Seth’s Palookaville includes a story graphic-novel fans in Southwestern Ontario will surely dig.
I say “issue” because Palookaville — the comics title in which some of Seth’s books have first appeared in serial form — is now a hard-cover semiannual publication from Drawn and Quarterly.
The latest volume, No. 21, includes three segments and it’s the final one, titledNothing Lasts, that will appeal to readers in this corner of Canada.
You may recall Seth hinting at his childhood years in Strathroy in his landmark tale, It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken.
Nothing Lasts is billed as “the first half of a sketchbook memoir about Seth’s childhood and adolescence in small-town Ontario.”
It is set in Bayfield, Clinton and Tilbury, but most of the story takes place in Strathroy.
By way of a prologue, the artist/writer mentions how he set some of his quest for the mythical illustrator Kalo in the same town.
As his family moves from place to place, Seth finds more meaning in the buildings and natural landscape around him than his few friends.
Not surprising, considering what we know of his lone-wolf tendencies and his tortured relationship to the past.
His mother reveals she has struggled with mental illness, but it doesn’t quite register with the boy — he just wants to be close to her and can’t understand why she seems so distant. He later discusses the many medications she tried.
One particularly poignant childhood memory involves traipsing through the woods in Strathroy.
He describes finding a special flower: “The trillium held a special fascination. Being the provincial flower, we were forbidden to pick it. I promised never to touch one. Schoolyard lore warned that if a trillium was picked . . . it would bleed red blood.”
Along with Jeff Lemire’s Trillium limited series, the provincial posey is having something of a moment in homegrown graphic novels.