Shit is grubbily surreal in Franz’s sharp graphic novel, which follows a young woman’s response to a breakup and mixes lonely lunches, wild parties and hallucinations. After losing her job and being dumped by her boyfriend, Selma is putting up a picture in her new flat when the drill slips, opening a yawning crack into her neighbour’s vacant apartment. It starts slowly – a glass of water here, a washing-machine load there – but before long Selma has moved in.
Shit Is Real is set in a near future where holograms are replacing workers, but there’s no glossy sheen. Instead, discomfort and mishaps fill the pencilled pages: noodles spill on a shirt, urine streaks across a roof terrace and machines chirp and fail. Franz mixes reality with panic-flecked imaginings. He finds as much strangeness in the hard lines and social expectations of the city as she does in Selma’s cosmic nightmares, while her darting eyes evoke doubt, eagerness and shame with a wonderful economy. For all its darkness, there’s real energy and ingenuity: this is a wise and funny journey through loneliness and confusion.