The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B.

The Armed Garden and Other Stories
by David B.
Fantagraphics, 2011

Apparently a short story told in words and pictures can now be called a graphic novella. Just wait for Marvel and DC to digest that – it’s not a comic book, it’s a graphic novella. A quarter of a million words in the English language, and that’s the best we can come up with?

Anyway, this is an exceptional book, containing three loosely-linked short sto- sorry, graphic novellas recounting the tales of the Veiled Prophet Hakim al-Muquanna, the Adamite Rohan and the reincarnation of Jan Zizka as a war drum. Heady, erotic stuff, drawn in a manner reminiscent of Edward Gorey if he had spent more time in Persian strip clubs and not liked negative space very much.

Many individual panels are fascinating, like a literal depiction of the caption “But as we know, heresies, like revolutions, devour their young” and another showing John XXIII simultaneously committing murder, sodomy and simony. Try doing that in charades!

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