Sunday, June 25, 2017

Marked by 9/11

Can't Get No (2006) written and illustrated by Rick Veitch: Manhattan CEO Chad Roe has a bad day when complainants launch lawsuits against his company and its signature product -- a truly indelible marker. Stock prices drop into the Zero range. Angry victims of the truly permanent marker want Roe's head. It's September 9, 2001 in New York.

Can't Get No is a surreal, often grotesque piece of left-wing agit-prop from writer-artist Rick Veitch. It's also brilliant and, in my comic-reading experience, unique. I've never encountered a comic before in which the odd, often vague blocks of text (no word balloons or, for that matter, directly attributed quotations here) interact with the occasionally grotesque but also splendidly, comically rendered art so as to induce a sort of trance state in the reader.

Pages go by, and the text seems to vanish from one's memory before it can be stored. Veitch has conjured up a graphic novel that reflects the mass-culture wasteland of America and its cancerous hold on individuals and on the planet. I'd hate to see what this book would do to someone truly stoned.

This is a quest narrative in which images carry the weight while the text noodles away in the background, strange and elusive. There's a Theme Park one probably won't forget. And there's Chad Roe, whose body is turned into a canvas early on for a couple of artists interested in those permanent markers. 

Don't look for epiphanies or life-changing revelations at the end, though. It seems to me that the point of Can't Get No is that some people simply cannot permanently change. They've already drowned in the toxic, memoryless, money-obsessed melting pot that is America, melting. Highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment