Beer & Book #12


Last night’s beer: Hobgoblin Dark English Ale
Last night’s book:
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin (story) and Jill Thompson (art)

Notes: Sometimes I method read. This is to say that, if I’m reading, say, Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, very much about the state of Jewish identity in America and abroad, I’ll have John Zorn’s jazz (based on the Jewish musical scale) on the sound system, and I’ll sip a glass of slivovitz—a kosher plum brandy that’s featured heavily in the novel. (Though, actually, I’ve only had slivovitz once, years after I read that book, at the mighty DGS Delicatessen. It was worth the wait.) I immerse myself in the milieu of the book, letting its contours bleed out into my own life. Which is crazy, right? And just as annoying as when Jim Carrey acts like a dick to the cast and crew of his films, because that’s what his character would do under the circumstances. Anyway, a scary, gorgeously designed book about monsters called for a beer with an equally creepy, intricate label with a ghoul on it. (It’s crisp, clean, a little nutty, and not very memorable.) At least I didn’t read it late at night—I would have had trouble sleeping. Dorkin and Thompson keep the slapstick dynamic common to “funny animal” comics but add melancholy, gore, ghosts, and lushness to the proceedings. Man, Thompson’s art is gorgeous—rich watercolors, quivering backgrounds, a sense of color and light taken as much from film noir as Friday the 13th, and an acute understanding of the ways cats and dogs actually move in space. Did you ever wonder what your pets do when you’re asleep? They’re out there saving the world from horrors you would rather not imagine, that’s what.


About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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