Alex by Mark Kalesniko

Alex
by Mark Kalesniko
Fantagraphics, 2006

Another tale of fear and loathing in Canada from the author of the excellent Mail Order Bride, this time featuring dog-headed author avatar Alex Kalienka, a failed cartoonist who has returned to his industrial hometown after achieving and then blowing his childhood dream of working for “Mickey Walt” Cartoon Studios.

Alex’s days are punctuated by alcoholic constipation, artist’s block, trashing his flat and avoiding childhood friends and his favourite teacher from high school, now a raving dipsomaniac surrounded by cats. He is also tormented by a rather good expressionist painting he apparently produced during a bender, and impure thoughts about his Asian neighbour and a beautiful former classmate who looks just like the heroine of Mail Order Bride.

In short, a very good but not at all cheerful study of the consequences of achieving your ambitions when you’re a self-loathing dog-headed cartoonist.

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