Kevin Huizenga, Curses, Drawn & Quarterly, 2006
the features that lead some people, and I count myself among them, to
consider Kevin Huizenga the most exciting living maker of comics are on
display in Curses, a new collection of short works. Huizenga's
stories often interpolate an outside text: "The Curse" retells
the story of starlings being brought to America; "28th Street"
updates an Italian folktale; and "Green Tea (Glenn Ganges Remix)"
adapts a Gothic story by J. Sheridan LeFanu. The best of these suspend
the interpolated text in a larger narrative trajectory that enriches the
narrative it intersects. Take "The Curse," for example: starlings
have overtaken author-stand-in Glenn Ganges' neighborhood, allowing for
a series of interlocking non-fiction digressions. First, we read about
the introduction of starlings to America by Eugene Schieffelin, who thought
to populate the continent with all the flora and fauna mentioned in Shakespeare's
plays. The number of starlings of course exploded—the initial eighty
birds begat a current population of over 200 million—in Huizenga's
hands a fitting symbol of rapid and out of control development. Starlings
are talented mimics, so when Huizenga follows up with the information
that in West Michigan, where his story is set, starling songs are made
up "30-50% [with] sounds related to automobiles," it's hard
not to connect the overpopulation of starlings with the frenzied development,
by car especially, of our urban environments.