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Soothing pastels and stripped-down layouts give way to the sort of quiet anxiety and all-too-real hopelessness that calls to mind Chris Ware. Some shocks come suddenly: a deranged daydream, an ominous stranger. More affecting, though, is the way the six stories slowly bleed together, with subtle tensions becoming major themes and small characters muttering the disappointing, revealing sound bites that form the texture of a place. Drnaso’s Middle America is hollow, but he’s an incredible artist.
Picked by Julian in Prospect Lefferts Gardens— From Staff Picks
Nick Drnaso's comics mercilessly reveal the sterile sameness of the suburbs.
Connected by a series of gossipy teens, the modern lost souls of "Beverly" struggle with sexual anxieties that are just barely repressed and social insecurities that undermine every word they speak.
A group of teenagers pick up trash on the side of the highway--flirting, preening, and ignoring a potentially violent loner in their midst. A college student brings her sort-of boyfriend to a disastrous house party with her high-school acquaintances. A young woman experiences a traumatic incident at the pizza shop where she works and the fallout reveals the racial tensions simmering below the surface. Again and again, the civilized facade of Drnaso's pitch-perfect surburban sprawl and pasty Midwestern protagonists cracks in the face of violence and quiet brutality.
Drnaso's bleak social satire in "Beverly "reveals a brilliant command of the social milieu of twenty-first-century existence, echoing the black comic work of Todd Solondz, Sam Lipsyte, and Daniel Clowes. Precisely and hauntingly recounted, each chapter of "Beverly" reveals something new--and yet familiar--about the world in which we live.
About the Author
Nick Drnaso was born in 1989 in Palos Hills, Illinois. He has contributed to several comics anthologies, self-published a handful of comics, been nominated for three Ignatz Awards, and coedited the second and third issue of Linework, Columbia College's annual comic anthology. Drnaso lives in Chicago, where he works as a cartoonist and illustrator.