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Hall of Best Knowledge

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  74 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Ray Fenwick has pioneered his own medium of storytelling, one best described as "typographical comics." Hall of Best Knowledge is presented as a handsome, personal journal written by an unnamed voice, referred to only as "The Author." Little is known about him; he makes occasional, derogatory references to a twin brother and younger sibling, but reveals little else. He cle ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published April 17th 2008 by Fantagraphics
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Brent Legault
Aug 27, 2010 Brent Legault rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: geniuses, super-geniuses
It hardly bears mentioning that the humour of a genius is a heady wine better sipped than gulped. But after downing even the first "glass" of Fenwick's vintage, you will no doubt discover that your mental faculties have lost their meagre measures of resistance and hence, you will be made "drunk" by his words and pictures.

Fear not. I have it on good authority (my own) that to cure a hangover you need only consume more of the thing which inebriated you in the first place. Take deep draughts from
Laurie Stevens
No one can tell Mr. Fenwick that his book is not a very creative and unusual process of storytelling. The feeling that I had genuinely found the diary of a smart and lonely teenager is something a book hasn't made me feel before.

Why I started: On a graphic novel kick.

Why I finished: Because it was unusual and interesting, if not emotional, the way I prefer my literature.

Re-readability: None unless it is to get ideas for typography projects.

Recommendation: Read it to get away from the trite regur
The brilliance spikes, and I do believe there is genius in the lettering and layouts. And that sometimes the page is simply (but elegantly) cancelled -- that has a genius, too. But (and there is a but) the voice talking to us through these panels about genius feels fake. And the ending -- ak.

In an entirely different book, I found a repeating pattern that Ray Fenwick had designed (knights cutting each others' heads off -- in a good way!) that made me forgive Ray of the writing here.

Ray's design
In a nutshell: Random thoughts beautifully handwritten.

I didn't care much for the ramblings. I enjoyed the nice lettering though. I didn't necessarily agree with what was written or think that anything was in fact, "best knowledge." I thought it needed some sort of primer but it didn't seem to be necessary as soon as I read the passage before the last entry. Where we can all assume Ray's friend explains everything and pretty much sums up what reading the book was like.

Read it really quickly so
Very slight. It's really only got 68 pages of content and those aren't really comic pages so much as artistically rendered, slightly illustrated bits of text. Don't get me wrong; some of these bits of texts are quite funny. As a professor myself, I would love to post a few of the earliest entries in my classroom or on my office door. But there are many entries that don't really amuse, and the "narrative" revealed in the end rings a bit false to me.
I'll tell you right now, I thought this book was gonna be some sort of encyclopedia and to an extent it was just not as boring. This basically MIND-Screwed me as bad as a Silent hill game or Psycho Mantis. The lettering and wording and there placement all were there to make you feel with your mind. This mad me stop in awe as to how this book basically explained everything to me. This is a guideline to read and it will make you think.
This was cute. There were really some very funny pages but if you try to read more than 10 pages at a time, the humor can feel tedious. However, if you read more than 20 pages at a time, you will feel impressed that the author arranged the pages in such a way that he can sweep in, make you laugh and save your good opinion of the work.

I have to admit, I picked this book up on a total whim. The book was a hilarious, satiric read that reminded me often of people I used to know. The reveal at the end was fairly priceless, and did manage to get a vocalized laugh from me. All in all a very clever short read.
Scott Krause
Apr 11, 2008 Scott Krause rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anybody with good taste
I got this book last night and here I am this morning, singing its praises. Hard to describe, but not hard to like and I'm not one to spoil any secrets.

Google author/artist "Ray Fenwick," then build yourself a time machine and pretend you discovered him.
The author presents his random thoughts in a calligraphy-oriented graphic form. His wry sense of his own genius is never off-putting, and truly endearing.
I am not a big graphic format fan, but this was a form I could recommend.
Hilarious and deeply intelligent, as well as unique. Imagine hand-drawn typography as cartooning & storytelling. A masterpiece of design and humor. Check it out.
May 20, 2008 Mandy added it
i really respond to ray fenwick's illustrations. i love hand-drawn text & personal interpretations of commercial-style work.
Meh. Some of this was really cool and funny, some of it was torturous to even flip through. Really hit and miss.
KR (Karen)
Read my Ray Fenwick Hall of Knowledge while wearing my Rad Ray Fenwick Tshirt from Tiny Showcase. Good times.
Great book - funny and quirky. Love both the humor and the illustration.
A strange concept for a book; it tended to wear out its welcome.
Pretentious and labored. Couldn't get 20 pages in.
Sep 02, 2008 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of ray fenwick
Amazing illustrations. Hilarious, real life observations.
A little Snicket-y (as in Lemony Snicket).
Dec 13, 2008 Alison rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mfa
A very textual graphic novel.
really, *really* funny.
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