Favorites: The Book of Leviathan by Peter Blegvad, with bonus links
The Book of Leviathan - Peter Blegvad
reviewed by Gene Kannenberg, Jr.
I don’t think that I could name one, single “favorite” comic of mine - my criteria (if I could articulate them) change as I do, sometimes daily. So when I was invited to contribute an essay to this zine, my brain’s first action was to freeze. What to choose? Who? But soon came the realization that there was one book I tended to show people whenever they asked me to name a great comic they might not have heard of before: The Book of Leviathan by Peter Blegvad.
Originally published in London’s The Independent on Sunday newspaper, “Leviathan” concerns Levi, a faceless, bald baby (descendant of Henry, cousin of Charlie Brown) who, toy rabbit in hand, encounters the world (or is it worlds?) with his cat companion. To call the strip “the adventures” of young Levi and Cat might stretch the term “adventure” a bit, even though they do take some fantastic journeys--including, in one memorable sequence, to Hell. Their travels are just as often linguistic or philosophical as they are ambulatory. Sometimes, they’re even all three (see “So, it’s finally come to this”). Blegvad’s artwork varies in style depending upon the subject matter and needs of the joke (and “Leviathan” is full of jokes). From watercolor to collage to lush linework, the art is always clever in its own right. Themes run the gamut from the fears of new parents to “what is the opposite of bunny?” In short, it’s a comic strip about synesthesia, ontology, and milk.
From high philosophy to the lowest puns, the book is a sheer delight all around. Levi himself would more succinctly sum up his cartoon life with the single word “Dep.” After reading The Book of Leviathan, I’m confident that you would agree with him.
Note: Here are some other contributions to FAVORITES, as posted by their authors. As I find more, I'll add them to this list. However, this is still just a taste of the full glory that is FAVORITES. Order your copy today!
- “Psalm” by John Porcellino - by Derik A. Badman
- On Jaime Hernandez's The Death Of Speedy - by Tom Spurgeon
- Walt Simonson and Archie Goodwin’s Manhunter - by Ben Towle