Things Just Get Away from You

Things Just Get Away from You
June 1st 2007 by Fantagraphics Books
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A collection of comics shorts from a brilliant young talent. Bed with a lovely bouncy, rubbery "SpongeBob SquarePants"-y style, cartoonist and animator Walt Holcombe tells wildly imaginative stories of love gained and (often) lost. "Things Just Get Away From You" collects all of Holcombe's late-1990s comics work, with a bonus new story, "Hails at Sea," thrown in for good measure. "Things Just Get Away From You" leads off with "King of Persia," a 1001 Nights/Yiddish vaudeville-inspired graphic novella in which king Faisal Al-Ghazali must win the affection of the woman he loves by traveling to an enchanted land in search of a giant emerald, while accompanied by his faithful companion, the talking camel, Jamila. From the pages of Holcombe's short-lived but beloved comic book series "Poot" come four stories: "Swollen Holler," a romance between two bugs whose supporting characters include an elderly bachelor, Professor Owl, and a lonely snail named Snail; "The Eighth Wonder," a breezily suggestive, picaresque pantomime story featuring a romantically-inclined barrel-clad wanderer; "The Red Grampus," in which the whaler captain Reginald Nubbins pursues an old enemy unleashed upon him by his first great love, the mysterious Julietta; and "Count Stinkenpuss," in which the eponymous count wins the prestigious Tattersall Cat Show, only to have his prize-winning cat, Mr. Lovely, stolen by a vengeful ex-lover, resulting in a battle to the death in a dogfight over Mt. Kilimanjaro. The book also includes "What Do Pretty People Think About?," a pathetic bit of speculative envy in which Holcombe muses about the condition of physical beauty: What do pretty people think about? Dopretty people feel pain like normal people? Do pretty people even have souls? Finally, the all-new "Hails at Sea" is a collage of Holcombe's troubled dreams over a three-year period. Vampires, unfortunate sexual metaphors, talking fish and Tiny Tim all make an appearance in this tribute to the return of the repressed.

Holcombe has focused his attention on animation for a number of years, but "Things Just Get Away From You" is a handsome and charming testament to a unique voice in the comics medium.