Man-Size (man_size) wrote,

Comic Critique reviews HEART-SHAPED HOLE

"Dean Haspiel’s Billy Dogma tends toward symphonies, long-form emo-stential epics that go the distance and let out cries of love at operatic pitch, but Heart-Shaped Hole is like a collection of the series’ hit singles, yet no one says uncoupled for long. The entries in this book have appeared online, in other creators’ anthologies, even as a standalone poster-comic, and now they, what the hell, come together.

Billy is the pillar of strength who knows he’s soft inside, the iconic solitary hero who understands it’s foolish to go it alone. His facing page is Jane Legit, a modern Aphrodite to his Bacchus; they are the superlative masculine and feminine principles, but only as one can they get the upper hand-in-hand; I once said somewhere that Haspiel has done for sex what Jack Kirby did for violence, and while most superbeing stories are about conflict, Billy Dogma is about convergence, the explosions that pull us together not fling us apart.

Billy and Jane’s elemental encounters set the temperature of whole cities and planets around them; their silhouettes are tectonic profiles, each other’s puzzle-piece, setting the world in place or multiplying its mystery. Orbits collide and stars and planets spin around our heads, and Haspiel has the inhabitants say the first things that come into theirs; sex as a trance of intensified awareness, a leap of unlikely connections made, is captured in the retinal scripture of his characters’ free-associative erotic poetry-slammin’; image immerses us in things mere description is insufficient to express and even in his text Haspiel catches the vantage-point of higher-dimensional understanding crashing into our consciousness from the corner of the frame.

These are hieroglyphics of collective memory, visual shorthand and verbal cues for things we have to learn we knew all along, in Haspiel’s chiseled and sinuous symbols and his hormonal washes and slashing sunrises of blood-reds and baking yellows, theatrical gels from the magic lantern of life-force. It’s not the bullet that kills you, it’s the heart."

--Adam McGovern, Comic Critique

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