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From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millenium

edited by Steffen Maarup

Publisher: Fantagraphics

Format: Softcover, 9 x 11, full color, $29.99

ISBN: 978-1-60699-325-5

Reviewed by: Publishers Weekly

An eye-opening cornucopia of visual storytelling styles traversing a wide variety of narrative avenues, this anthology gives a strong representation of contemporary Danish comics as a thriving comics culture. Largely surreal, the work is tough to nail down, but much of it is lighthearted even when dealing with very dark issues; it's devoid of the self-conscious self-referentialism that so often dogs American comics both genre and literary. The artists here are drawing for love and passion and it shows. Items of particular note are Mardon Smet's Bill Wrayesque "Stig & Martha" and Peter Kielland's wordless and hilarious "Valkuren Traume," which features the unlikely goings-on when an anthropomorphic roast chicken crashes a rather smutty Wagnerian opera and incites a fascist regime. However, the standout is Nikolein Werdelin's "Because I Love You So Much," which treats a mother's discovery that her daughter is being molested with the four-panel rhythm of a comic strip. It sounds tacky, but the result is heartrending. An essential volume for those interested in comics' global development and newest voices.