Saturday, May 24, 2008
Dash Shaw's Bottomless Bellybutton (Fantagraphics Press, 2008) is an epic tale about an accumulation of seemly unepic events. The Looney family reunion starts with the 70+ year old matriarch announcing she is divorcing her husband. As can be expected, the news has an impact on rest of the family, all in different ways. As they struggle to understand why someone in presumably the tail-end of her life would decide now to make such a decision -- and presumably live and even die alone -- they all learn a little something about themselves.
Clocking in at 720 pages, Bottomless Bellybutton might seem a pretty hardcore reading assignment. But, the length merely means you get the actual equivalent of a novels-worth of story and detail. Its similarity to an actual novel in terms of scope and subject matter leads me to think this book might also be perfect for a non "fan" friend or family member who you would like to introduce comic book reading to.
I devoured this book in 2 1/2 days, by the way, a few hours every night after work. A pleasure, with a understated but moving ending that lingers with you long after the book is done.
By Dash Shaw
Published by Fantagraphics Press
Available at your better-stocked comic shops, larger book-selling chains, and a bunch of places online.