Archive for December 18th, 2016


by Sam Juliano

There is a sense of pictorial contentment on the dedication page of Patrick Downes’s Come Home Angus, as our soon to be bi-polar youthful protagonist holds on to his dachshund via a leash, while his feline watches attentively.  The cute boy Angus sports Eastern European facial features -a very young Roman Polanski is a hard image to shake – which makes sense since the picture book’s illustrator Boris Kulikov is a Russian-American.  Scarlet  for the boy’s shirt, sneaker and leash, and the red letters of the inscription  allow for a winsome opening panel but by the very first turn of the page we appear to have some Kafkian machinations at play, which by the second page morph into something more Swiftian, specifically the land of Brobdingnag.  But a spiraling emotion like anger can surely trigger a growth spurt.  Heck, Tex Avery knew that well enough when he created his satiric cartoons, some where the characters grew as a result of some out of control emotion.  One can’t help but think of “King Sized Canary” when the cat and canary grow after application of some formula since one of Angus’s pets is a canary named Pennycake.  Angus gets up on the proverbially wrong side of the bed, and as a result everything is done wrong by his pets.  Even the cat Arthur is chastised for purring too loud.  In any event, an acute psychological state of mind is translated visually on that first bedroom panel when everything in the room -the bureau, the wall photos, the lamp and even the sun itself are upside down.  Angus may not exactly fit the extreme profile of Gregor Samsa, but some drastic revisions seem to be in order. (more…)

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