The Austin Chronicle Applauds Seth's Dominion

“Hey, Grownups! Graphic Novels! Three new releases from the good folks at Drawn & Quarterly” / The Austin Chronicle / Wayne Alan Brenner / December 6, 2016

Looking for a gift for some comics-loving friend this holiday season, citizen? Or want to get yourself a little something decent in the way of sequential art in a beautifully designed package? Because you deserve it, really, just for having survived almost another whole year on this planet without resorting to homicide or suicide or some other sad 'cide?

Look, we say, no further: It's probably represented, thanks to Canada's comics powerhouse Drawn & Quarterly, in this list that follows.

Seth, Seth, Seth …

We don’t say that with exasperation or disdain, the way The Brady Bunch’s Jan was wont to say “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia …” back in the halcyon days of American daytime television, but with a kind of pleased acknowledgement of the artist’s ubiquity this holiday season. Because Seth was a solid portion of that highly giftable D&Q 25th Anniversary Anthology we reviewed a while ago, and because it was he who designed the excellent Haunted Bookshelf series from Biblioasis that recently impressed a certain Mr. Faires and myself, and because this Dominion isn’t just by Seth but is also about that stalwart of the Contemporary Canadian Comicbook Community.

It’s a DVD, for one thing, featuring a film documentary by Luc Chamberland, effectively splicing together a talking appearance of Seth’s at D&Q’s lovely retail outpost, several animations based on the relentlessly dapper fellow’s shorter comics, and home-interview footage of him and his wife Tania (and D&Q’s head honcho Chris Oliveros and – almost required, we’d suggest – Seth’s longtime cartooning pals Chester Brown and Joe Matt).

It’s a DVD, we say, but even the wealth of material therein (definitely a wealth for those who are fans of the man’s work, and at least a curious diversion for those who aren’t) only matches the Seth-designed, comics-enhanced, candid photo-filled, gorgeously produced book (bound in a hardcover sort of leporello style) that the DVD is packaged in. Thinking of the vast cardboard-model city of Dominion that the artist is building in his basement, I’m really wanting to invoke Dylan Thomas here, am eager to indulge in a bit of goofy wordplay along the lines of “Who’s to say Seth shall have no Dominion, y’drunken Welsh git?” But that would be irrelevant, except so far as noting that Seth’s work – here, elsewhere, and everywhere – like that of the poet’s, also traffics in a sort of stylized melancholy brightened with the occasional ghostlights of humor. And we highly recommend an acquaintance with it – and with this well-rendered documentary.

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