Jace's Reviews > The Three Paradoxes

The Three Paradoxes by Paul Hornschemeier
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M 50x66
's review
Feb 15, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: comics
Recommended for: pretentious indie kids who get off to Wes Anderson movies

I fear that this book may turn the next generation off to graphic novels. I left this at my parents' house and my 14 year-old brother tried to read it. He put it down pretty quickly because it was, in his words, "boring and pointless." Out of the mouth of babes, they say...

Well, I'm not going to spend much time arguing with my brother. Ok, so I get what this book is supposed to be about. Introspection, the past, loss, uncertainty about the future, hope, etc, etc. Yeah, I get it. But Jesus, quit brooding and trying to force your mood on us. The book just doesn't feel very sincere, and none of the big ideas that are understood to be present are ever really explored. Basically, the entire book is a conversation the author has with his dad on the way to a gas station to buy a bag of chips. A large portion of this conversation is made up of monosyllabic word bubbles, which the author deems necessary to give their own panels. This graphic novel took me less than 20 minutes to read, and that's only because I took my time. And a cover price of $15 bucks? I'm gonna need a much better return on my investment. [Luckily I got it from my local library]

The positives: the main story is interspersed with a few little vignettes, each of which is drawn in its own style. The contrast is visually pleasing. Also, most of the illustration is of low-detail cartoony figures, but one panel stands out amazingly. The main character is driving past a fiery car crash and takes a look at one of the drivers. We are presented with a close up of a worn, haggard, desperate man. The juxtaposition of his detailed face with the overall simple cartooniness of the rest of the panels is magnificent.

But that one panel does not make this book worth reading, in my opinion. If a graphic novel/comic book doesn't have action-packed super hero stories, it at least needs to have some big ideas. And no, trying to convince the reader than one day in your life has the same impact as an entire Greek philosophy does not count. This book just plods along ho-hum. I'm sure the events meant something to the writer, but they're entirely lost on the reader.

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