Wonderland Reviews "Off Season"

“In Vermont Cartoonist James Sturm’s ‘Off Season,’ Things Are Only Getting Worse” / Wonderland / Greg Cook / June 6, 2019


“Off Season” (Drawn and Quarterly) starts off depressing and heads toward despair. In this new graphic novel from Vermont cartoonist James Sturm, co-founder of both the Seattle Stranger and the Center for Cartoon Studies, Mark is a carpenter working on a house that’s months behind schedule. When his boss much belatedly pays him his salary, he uses the money to pay for his kid’s judo lessons. Then the paycheck bounces. His wife is leaving him. He’s struggling with single-parenting his cranky children. Also, Trump just won the presidential election. Sturm’s slice-of-life story (populated by dog-headed people) is thoughtfully and precisely observed. It rings true—painfully so. Its relentless gloominess can be hard going. If you stick with it, though, hope glimmers.

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