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thoreau at walden Thoreau at Walden (Hyperion/CCS), John Porcellino.

Throwing all objectivity aside, this book is great for three reasons:

1. I had been meaning to read some Henry David Thoreau for a while, but didn’t really know where to start.

2. John Porcellino is one of my favourite comic creators at the moment. I picked up “Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man” on a whim, and liked it even more than I thought I was going to.

3. Hardcover, two-color process, an excellent introduction and extensive notes. It’s just a handsome package all round.

I was aware of John Porcellino’s self-published King-Cat Comix for a while before seeing it: the style and subject matter instantly reminded me of Kevin Huizenga, so I naturally thought that’s where he was taking inspiration (kind of got that back to front though). It’s not difficult to see why John Porcellino is so well loved by critics, fellow creators and the fans alike. The simple, thoughtful linework and stripped back minimalist layouts are pretty compelling themselves, but it’s the stories that really caught me. At the risk of sounding like an emo moron, there is real heart in the stories, a gentleness and appreciation for small things that doesn’t seem forced or self-conscious.

Who better to illustrate a book about naturalist and transcendental philosopher Henry David Thoreau? The afterword notes that all text is taken from Thoreau’s writings, as well as providing a good reading list and endnotes with further detail on certain events in the comic. So much care has been put into this that I couldn’t help but get swept away.

If the purpose of this book was to get people hooked on Thoreau, then mission accomplished.

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