DeForge always seems utterly in control—from the dreamscape-on-drugs palette of electric blues, acid tangerines and lemon yellows, to the deft world-building worthy of Jack Kirby, to the winged terrors that nod to manga horror master Kazuo Umezu. This cartoonist warmly bows to his elders, even when flinging its cellular goo in the dramatic style of Krazy Kat . . . DeForge is apparently of our species, but as a keen observer of multifaceted behavior, perhaps no cartoonist has a better compound eye.Michael Cavna, Washington Post
The debut graphic novel from a dazzling newcomer with a singular, idiosyncratic style.
In the few short years since he began his pamphlet-size comic book series Lose, Michael DeForge has announced himself as an important new voice in alternative comics. His brash, confident, undulating artwork sent a shock wave through the comics world for its unique, fully formed aesthetic. With his debut Drawn & Quarterly title, DeForge affirms his place as a defining new voice of alternative comics.
From its opening pages, Ant Colony immerses the reader in a world that is darkly existential, with false prophets, unjust wars, and corrupt police officers, as it follows the denizens of a black ant colony under attack from the nearby red ants. On the surface, it’s the story of this war, the destruction of a civilization, and the ants’ all too familiar desire to rebuild. Underneath, though, Ant Colony plumbs the deepest human concerns—loneliness, faith, love, apathy, and more. All of this is done with humor and sensitivity, exposing a world where spiders can wreak unimaginable amounts of havoc with a single gnash of their jaws.
DeForge’s striking visual sensibility—stark lines, dramatic color choices, and brilliant use of page and panel space—stands out in this volume.
Praise for Ant Colony
A book this thought-provoking and gorgeous deserves acclaim.Paste
Combining a quiet tone and a jarring, angular pace with scenes that hark back to the unsettling set pieces of early nineties gross-out cartoons – [DeForge's] work slaps you in the face while whispering in your ear. Every word and pause feels considered, yet organic, and every moment of disgust somehow poignant.Off Life
Every so often a book comes along that knocks you flat on your ass and makes you wonder where the hell you’ve been and why you haven’t seen anything like it sooner. Ant Colony is exactly that kind of book . . . an intensely charismatic, thoughtful, evocative little world that DeForge has filled with memorable characters, burning philosophical questions, and moments of true humanity that shine through the stylized thoraxes and angled antennae of his kooky creations.Nerdist
Deforge has a sharp insight into the subterranean parts of our souls, and is able to play them across the page in subtle enough ways that it slips past our frontal lobe and settles right into our gut feelings.David Berry, National Post
Ant Colony is a sort of life-during-wartime love story in which the characters happen to be stylized ants, centipedes and spiders inhabiting a world rendered with outsized surreal flair.Montreal Gazette
Deforge's work always tiptoes around the edge of body horror and grotesque sexuality, yet he does so here with wit and imagination and an appealing group of characters that help make this as much fun to read as it is occasionally icky to look at.Mental Floss
DeForge is one of those rare comics naturals and Ant Colony proves it.Jaime Hernandez
[Ant Colony] is . . . absurd and existential . . . [DeForge] grants no victors and no spoils.Harper's...
The Toronto cartoonist’s first full-length graphic novel follows a clutch of misfit ants, trying to maintain some semblance of civilization in the shadow of war. Psychedelically gorgeous, uncomfortably funny.Sean Rogers, Globe and Mail Best Books of 2014
With its striking design, strong characters and parallel references to kiddie-fare animal antics and soul-crushing adult decisions, Ant Colony is compelling work.Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune
Michael DeForge is that rare sort of cartoonist, a genuine artist with a unique vision and a teeming imagination. He’s not trying to create sentimental pap for a mass audience. I love his work, but I do wonder why any sensible, profit-minded publisher would release this crazy book.Chester Brown
With an unusual style that is equal parts adorable, grotesque, psychedelic, and earthy, DeForge tells an epic story . . . the hallucinatory imagery works wonderfully with the emotional honestly of the writing to make Ant Colony an outstanding spectacle with personality and depth.AV Club