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Curses (Or Else)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  832 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews

"One of the brightest, most interesting new comix authors to appear in the last five years."

Delving into mythology, belief, and spirituality,Kevin Huizenga's short stories are based on the lives of familiar characters confronting the textures of mortality in unique and sometimes peculiar ways. Huizenga fuses the most banal aspects of modern culture with its m

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published December 12th 2006 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30)
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Oct 25, 2007 rated it did not like it
At least I made it through this turd. Don't get me wrong, if you enjoy essays on religion and religious debate and religion vs. science vs. spirituality vs. Haystacks Calhoun in a steel cage match at the Rapid City Civic Center... sorry. Then this is the story for you. It was engaging enough at first being character-driven by Glenn Ganges. Some people may be into the stuff Glenn is rapping about or that Kevin is laying down. It was tolerable until the last story, and this more because of my tast ...more
Seth T.
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Anthologies and short story collections are always such a difficult thing for me to judge. Generally the quality and value of the work is so varied that it's hard to come up with any kind of monolithic opinion to summarize the work. While single-author collections can be a bit easier, they still aren't wholly immune to this kind of trouble.

Kevin Huizenga's Curses is, for me, no exception to this rule.

While some of the stories are great and perfect examples of viable ways to use the comic medium
Dov Zeller
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphics-comics
This collection was between a three and a four for me. I really appreciated it, and I thought the art was great. In the end though, I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to. There is a lot of interesting texture and philosophical meandering, which I liked. Some serious existential comedy in here with Glenn Ganges, which I tend to appreciate in many of its forms, and the forms it takes in here are unique -- pillowy-soft in places and fairly harsh in others. It's a strange journey, not necessaril ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it did not like it

Yeah, it's that bad.

It's a shame, too, because this comic had potential. The first story examined the theme of personal demons who manifest themselves as hallucinations, following around two hapless characters. I have my own negative thoughts that hound me, so I found this a very creative way of illustrating this idea.

Then I turn the page....

and there's an entire comic devoted to the very subject that haunts me. Just what I need, right? (I'm really getting tired of being blindsided by this s
Mar 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great collection of short stories told in comics format with a shared central character, the middle-class suburban-dwelling everyman Glenn Ganges. Huizenga is a master of the claire-ligne style that I love so much -- those spare, deft lines that speak volumes in their simplicity. I also enjoyed the philosophical and supernatural tinge of several of the stories in this volume, especially the related stories about the lengths Glenn & his wife go to produce their own child and the curse of th ...more
I really enjoy Huizenga's illustration style.

There's a neatness and simplicity to it.

I REALLY enjoyed the Glenn Ganges story included in The Best American Comics 2009 (on gaming after work at a .com). This collection isn't quite as strong to me as that story. There isn't the humor. Some of the selections feel like essays in comic form (very text reliant). This is more thought-provoking than the gaming selection.

I especially liked the illustrated text of adoption documentation. I sense that mu
Dec 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
An uneven collection of comics featuring the protagonist Glenn Ganges, I liked best the pieces where Glenn's thoughts and ramblings weren't the focus. In the last piece, by far the best in the collection, the narrative shifts to an acquaintance and the shift in perspective gives it a drive and interest lacking in some of the other stories.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Here is the quiet, contemplative literary graphic novel that I have been searching for. Huizenga's style offers the reader many opportunities to connect dots on their own, without interference of his own bias, in both his dialogue and his sketches.
Aug 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: readbutnotowned
While there were a couple of bright spots, ultimately this collection was really boring. Also, I am not into comics about dudes & religion. No thank you. I'm really glad I didn't buy this.
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Um, a discussion about religion that's thought provoking and not dismissive in a graphic novel? Yes, please.
Matt Mollison
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Some fun stories and great drawings but oh jeez that last one with the golfing preacher was a slog
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Huizenga's stories range from Victorian ghost stories, articles on Sudan, folk tales, Christian arguments, and even adoption reports. This can be a good thing if the subjects themselves are interesting though unfortunately most of them are not.

The Victorian ghost story is an adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu's story "Green Tea" about a vicar haunted by a monkey who tells him to kill himself. The story is agonisingly played out with Le Fanu's words telling us about the vicar and his grief, his meet
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction

Curses is a collection of nine stories featuring Huizenga's perpetual protagonist, Glenn Ganges. In "Green Tea" Glenn recounts his preoccupation with the idea of visions, as they related to his study of theology and art during his third year in college. As he became increasingly obsessed with his research, Glenn experienced a vision of his own in the form of a dog with a human hand in its mouth. Later, Glenn stumbles across an eighteenth-century correspond
Jan 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dropped
oh man that was...bad it felt like I have been reading this for weeks now.
Curses is a short stories collection all of them had a central character Glenn, some of the stories I liked and others I didn't but overall I wanted this book to be over I felt bored even if some of the stories were good I didn't see the point of them especially cause I felt like they were written as if they had a deeper meaning or something you know how comic book dudes can be anyway, I loved the art.
Curses started out gr
Robert Beveridge
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Kevin Huizenga, Curses (Drawn and Quarterly, 2006)

I think that, were Glenn Ganges a real person (and I believe that he is, at least partially, Kevin Huizenga himself), that he and I would get along famously. Ganges seems to take an approach to the world very similar to my own, and we have things in common I never expected to find I had in common with, shall we say, an artist's rendition. Thus, I will freely admit to bias in my review of Curses, Huizenga's first book of Glenn Ganges stories. (A s
Alan Chen
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
I kind of hate this comic. I'm giving it two stars because the drawings are beautiful and the stories are well researched. Provisionally they're all about curses. First story is a gothic tale of a man plagued by a demonic specter. There's a meditation on missing children posters and a silly story about looking for an ogre feather in order to cure the curse that prevents his wife from conceiving. The final two stories are really boring and encased in historical detail with quotes from eminent thi ...more
Kate Rhoades
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Kevin Huizenga is my favorite comic book writer. This may be a little too heady for some people, but the way he illustrates his characters' inner worlds is fascinating to me. His art is also really appealing- the simple style contrasts the complex themes, and it kept me going in the parts that were more mentally taxing, particularly the biblical debate at the end about the existence of hell. I think the welcoming drawing style may entice people that are looking for something more lighthearted, a ...more
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pensive comic lovers
Shelves: sequential-art
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I heard the author give a reading at Quimby's this winter. The first and penultimate stories were the best: In "Green Tea," Ganges recounts an episode from university days, when a tea-fueled research project on hallucinations triggered his own visionary experience (he keeps seeing a certain dog in various locations) and had him digging through a nineteenth-century psychiatrist's papers for explanations (the psychiatrist's patient is an ultimately suici ...more
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was a little worried when I saw the Sunday-cartoon style drawings, but with stories about the existence of hell, fertility problems, a a curse of starlings it was much more bleak than Kevin Huizenga's art suggested. I found these stories to be well-written and interesting, yet I didn't really see why it needed to be a graphic novel when the dialogue and narrative could have stood better on its own. I couldn't bring myself to care about the main character, Glenn Ganges, and found myself wishing ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Huizenga has always been a cartoonist who strives to make me NOT like his material, despite his always engaging and straightforward cartooning style. This book has some works, 28th Street in particular, which showcase how good he can be at times, but the book also overwhelmingly showcases how he can't ever put his finger on an ending, and so simply runs on until everything completely runs out of gas and, far worse from my side, the book also stresses how he would apparently be more comfortable i ...more
Jonathan Rimorin
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'd had this book for years, and was always put off by the first story, a 42 page adaptation of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's short story "Green Tea," about a man terrorized by a spectral monkey. Huizenga's interest in narrative is sparked by odd curiosity and oblique gestures, which at its most abstract is off-putting. At its most engaged, though, it's as odd and brilliant as a story by Borges -- academic learning made aslant, as in the stories on offer here about the origins of starlings in the New Wo ...more
William Owen
Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I think I've had this pretty much since it came out, and its one of the books I turn back to every once and a while, flip open, and just digest one of the stories. They are autobio and philosophical, dealing with religion and workload and how to get pregnant if there might be a curse on you (find an ogre). The ways in which the stories fall into one another, the factual sidling up next to the fictional, the stuff that maybe never could happen tossing pebbles at the stuff that probably never shou ...more
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics-gn
This was my introduction to Kevin Huizenga, and oh my gosh I loved it. That said, I realize how much potential there is for me to like his other work even more, and I wonder how I can express that with more than five stars? Should I revamp my whole rating system for this?

One of the reviews of this I read was hating on the theology story in this collection. That was really one of my favorite stories. I really liked that it provided both Glenn's (as the atheist) and the pastor's perspective, becau
Erik Erickson
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Erik by: the interwebs
Very good stuff. The whole modern suburban mysticism is neat. The book is a collection of stories about a character named Glenn Ganges that share the theme of religion or spirituality. The best ones are the hilarious and interesting 28th Street, about a magic feather and secret fertility ceremony, and Jeepers Jacobs, about a seminary student and preacher who's working on a thesis about Hell.

I liked this more than another collection of stories based on the titular character, titled Ganges.
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
A collection of short stories. Some stories were better than others often due to abrupt endings or storylines that did not grab my attention. I think he touched on several topics that need to be discussed in West Michigan with varying degrees of entertaining creative approaches. That said, being from Grand Rapids I really connected with all the West Michigan references making me like the stories more. He provides accurate accounts of West Michigan life including the horror's of 28th street and e ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: public-library
An uneven short story collection by an up and coming comix man. Green Tea and Lost and Found are both wonderful stories making full use of comic grammar and the fantastic. A few of the other stories feel very young, form looking for ideas and vice versa. His cartoony, Herge-like style is wonderful and warms the pretension of some of his layouts and story constructions. I look forward to watching his career develop.
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This book is fantastic. It was the second story, in particular, that caught my attention and made me realize the awesomeness of this author. Titled 'Lost and Found,' it is a short piece, with very simple artwork, that nonetheless is as powerful and subtle as any short piece of prose writing could aspire to be.

This book is an excellent example of why the comic/graphic novel format is finding its place among literature as a serious and powerful artform.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
the art in this book is really wonderful. it is not lacking in stars for that reason. i'd love to be able to draw and tell a story like huzienga. his stories are able to convey suspense and pathos in very striking ways. i guess so me it is just that there was high creepiness factor and creepiness kind of scares me. will i have nightmares now about delusions of animals driving me crazy? scary stuff.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Huizenga is a master. This collection, though, has a few misses. While I appreciate the amount of research that must've gone in to the story "Jeepers Jacobs," I wasn't at all interested in a character who isn't Glenn thinking about religion. I liked the art in the story "Green Tea (Glenn Ganges Remix)," but I found the actual story fairly flat. So a must-have for any Huizenga fan, but not for a first timer (go get Ganges #1 instead).
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Huizenga's hilarious, unassuming drawings rocket you to different, strange places while his protagonist, Glenn Ganges, occupies himself with problems that face the everyman. One of the most moving parts of his book is how the Sudanese refugees appear in all of his stories. Oh, and favorite panel? Definitely the ones after he sprays gasoline in his eyes -- you can just see the anti-suburban vitriol in full force.
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Kevin Huizenga was born in 1977 in Harvey, IL and spent most of his childhood in South Holland, IL, near Chicago. He attended college in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and moved to St. Louis in 2000 where he lives and works.

He began drawing comics in high school, xeroxing his first issue (with friends) at the neighborhood Jewel Osco in 1993. Since that time he's made approximately 30 more. In 2001 the Co
More about Kevin Huizenga...

Other Books in the Series

Or Else (4 books)
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  • Or Else #3
  • Or Else #4
  • Or Else #5

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