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Monologues for the Coming Plague
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Monologues for the Coming Plague


3.32  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  42 reviews

An original graphic novel from one of the most exciting young voices in comics.

Paperback, 260 pages
Published August 17th 2006 by Fantagraphics (first published July 12th 2006)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  309 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Dave Riley
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Nilsen's work here is a throw back to the absurd -- to Harold Pinter or Samuel Beckett or Eugène Ionesco. Driven my angst and the fear of nihilism the cartooning washes over you like a philosopher's dream or a chapbook by William Blake rewritten by Franz Kafka.

I found myself going back over pages past and reading the unfolding imagery again -- the better to catch the meaning and savour the simple line work and graphic mix.

I loved Monologues for the Coming Plague more than Monologues for Calcula
Sep 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Misty Dawn (don't worry, I'll be sending a copy to España)
Personally, I’m a fan of displaced humor or absurdist works, such as Space Ghost Coast to Coast. I read some Brecht just a couple weeks ago, and yes, I really wanted to take a road trip to New York City to see the huge Dadaist exhibit last fall. Believe me, people like this still exist and we’re all for seeing the abstract instability of reality crumble under a worthy writer’s pen (labtop). We’re waiting for French Surrealism to rise again!

Sigh, I’m such a loser.

One of the reasons this comic c
Andrew Horton
Mar 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
Just terrible. Non-sequitur lines about semiotics and relationships from stick figures for 150 pages, like LOLcats with a big side of grad school pretense. I don't know if I'm more disgusted with Nilsen - who's normally capable of some great minimalist art and moody storytelling - for presenting this as a legitimate work/release, or with Fantagraphics for asking people to pay $20 for it.

Or maybe I'm just disgusted with five-star reviewers who want nothing more than to intellectualize it and fee
Dec 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Still new to the graphic novels...this one had great parts, but I'm struggling to put together the pieces. I still don't understand semiotics.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
I'm a big Anders Nilsen fan - his absurdist, dark humour really resonates with me. This book is a collection of simple line figures interacting in always bizarre, sometimes funny and sometimes strangely meaningful or thought-provoking ways. I preferred his similar work that came after, Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes, because it had a little more substance and laugh-out-loud moments of absurdity. But this was another enjoyable read.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
digitized by the Boston Public Library here --->
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
It gave me a chuckle once.
Liz Yerby
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Feels like a practice run for poetry is useless. Like it's ok but poetry is useless is incredible and I'll never recover
Robert Beveridge
Anders Nilsen, Monologues for the Coming Plague (Fantagraphics Books, 2006)

I was fond enough of Dogs and Water (viz. 14Mar2009 review) to go looking for more of Anders Nilsen's work, and the title of this one intrigued me from the first time I saw it; one of the libraries in my system, all of which seem notoriously slow at getting things in, finally grabbed a copy last year, so I put it on hold and waited patiently until last week. What I can tell you after reading it: Dogs and Water it is not,
May 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics
I feel like there were a lot of elements in this book that didn't work for me. Normally, I am pretty forgiving with the drawings, but these were basically doodles. It felt like there wasn't a lot of effort put into them. When the images aren't appealing, it makes it difficult to be as engaged with the work as a whole.

The second thing that I didn't care for was the lack of continuity between the pieces. With monologues in the title it stands to reason that there will be one shots meant to stand a
Paul Mirek
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even at 260 pages long, this "collection" is challenging to write about in depth. That's because so much of the point—if you believe there is one—rests on the simple act of proceeding through its pages and trying to wring out any kind of cohesive "meaning."

If it seems like I"m being coy about the book's intentions, that's only because Nilsen is similarly laissez-faire when it comes to bringing up big subjects: semiotics, Buddhism, and a startling new life approach known as the "mediocrity princ
Renee Alberts
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
The simple manner in which Anders Nilsen presents his comics, using panel-less, scribbled line drawings free of background detail and freehand, sometimes scratched-out text, belies the subtle humor, complex philosophies and pure wickedness behind them.

Some of the most hilarious moments occur in the sardonic exchanges between a pigeon and a woman feeding it, during one of which, the pigeon quips, “None for me, thanks. I’m on a hunger strike.” In another motif, two people having a surreal discuss
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This is meant to be more funny than philosophical. The blurb should probably make that more clear. For philosophical, see Dogs and Water.

This is the kind of fun (scribbled-over faces) you'd find in a lot of notebooks. No, there's no vulgarity or nudity. It's very much my kind of humor but more of library read than a purchase for anyone, I would guess. Do you usually buy joke books? That should decide you.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult, graphic-novel
Simple, almost stick-figure drawings accompany these modern vignettes. Sketches include a pigeon's conversation with a woman throwing bread, and a man's dialogue with his dog. The statements are stream-of-consciousness-y. While I can appreciate the art form, I wasn't overly impressed with the statements or the artistic technique.
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maybe I'd like this less if I paid $18 for it rather than borrowing it from the library, but anyway, I liked it. About what a person can expect from absurdist, stream-of-consciousness comics. If you go into it expecting a grand story, I guess it might be disappointing, yeah. But so what? There are some seriously funny moments.
Lorra Fae
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was sort of a weird jumble...generally I like nonsense comics, but this had no real...story? About halfway through it gets better, and I had some laughs, more like "WTF?!" laughs but laughs nonetheless.

Very quick read, at least. It was okay. A disappointment compared to Big Questions, which is like, THE BEST THING EVER.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Absurdo, arriesgado, extraordinario. Me gustó mucho más que "Dogs and Water"; tenía la impresión de que Nilsen era un autor serio, y no, es un gran cómico de alguna forma (o este libro lo es). Hay algunas partes que me aburrieron un poco, quizás no las entendí (obviamente, la parte de la semiótica, cuando descomponen oraciones), pero el resto, me abrió la cabeza. Absolutamente recomendable.
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Simply amazing low-fi comics. I love the idea of a sketchpad being a visual diary of thoughts, vignettes, etc. Each page functions as its own panel, and the penwork here is deceptively simple--don't mistake it for no skill. This is a master pretending to have a simple voice. HIGHLY recommended.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I loved the non-sequitars. This book didn't make a whole lot of sense the first time I read it, but then it took me an hour, so I might have the time to give it a second read-through. For only taking an hour to read, I would recommend it to anyone.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-liberry
Anders Nilsen is such an excellent artist, with lovely line control and use of space, that I sort of prepared myself to hate this based on the minimal, repetitive and intentionally sloppy drawings. But, it was pretty wonderful. Every page is a joke and/or koan, and they build as the book develops.
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first half of this book I was like what the crap is going on. Then all of a sudden the humor clicked and i think it's genius. i'm afraid to show it to anyone else though in case they have my first reaction and think i'm crazy for falling in love with it.
Sep 08, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic_novel
What a let down. Obscure and ultimately boring. Feels like a bunch of inside jokes that I'm not sure Nilsen has let anybody else in on.
May 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is best enjoyed in multiple sittings.
Dana Jerman
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
The great exercise of modern art is discovering a convincing way to draw the figure.. and doing it a lot.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
I really liked this, but I felt like I was missing something after I read it.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: comix
Anders Nilsen has just the right amount of stupidity and profundity. He's a little lacking in this one, but I still liked it. I like the shaky-lined, lumpy drawings of men speaking monologues.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really funny...and I like the quaint, yet still effective, artistic style. A fun read!
Jan 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
It had its few moments-- they were very, very rare. Not sure if this was too 'sophisticated' for me, but the majority of book is not funny. It's a quick read, though.
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
It's kind of had to describe. Absurdist. Yeah, that's the word.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Meh. Reads like the musings of an incredibly bored angsty 20-something.
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Anders Nilsen (born 1973) is a popular artist and graphic novelist who grew up in Minneapolis and lives in Chicago, IL.

He works on an ongoing comic series, Big Questions (Drawn and Quarterly), which has been nominated several times for the Ignatz Award. In addition, his comics have appeared in the anthologies Kramers Ergot[1] and Mome.[2] His graphic novel Dogs and Water won an Ignatz Award in 200

Other books in the series

Monologues (2 books)
  • Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes