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The Tickingby Renee French
Synopses & Reviews
The Ticking is the story of Edison Steelhead, a boy who at birth takes his mother's life and his father's deformed face. Secreted away by his father to be raised in a remote island lighthouse, Edison relates to his surroundings in the only way he knows how — by capturing them in his sketchbook. Able to find beauty in even the most grotesque of things, Edison embraces his own unsettling appearance and sets out to confront the rest of the world. Waiting for him on its alien shores are the sights and experiences that will give shape to both his future and his past.
Written and illustrated by acclaimed artist Renée French, The Ticking is a compelling work of graphic literature, a reminder that before we can appreciate the beauty around us, we must first find it within ourselves. A gorgeous 216-page hardcover graphic novel, designed by Jordan Crane.
"French's work always splits the difference between cuteness and revulsion, and her new graphic novel is both the sweetest and the most stomach-churning thing she's ever drawn. Budding artist Edison Steelhead is a grotesquely deformed boy — his eyes are on opposite sides of his head — whose mother died in childbirth. His father wants Edison to get radical plastic surgery. After Edison refuses, his father brings home a 'new sister' for him, Patrice, who's a bug-eating chimpanzee in a baby-doll dress. Then things get really weird. Edison heads off to seek his fortune in the city, his father continues to try to get him to hide or change his face, and the book's point becomes less and less its plot and more French's astonishing artwork — just a small, wobbly-bordered panel or two on each page, rendered in feather-soft pencil textures. Edison's bildungsroman involves a bunch of exquisitely rendered symbolic motifs: flies, fishing lures, tweezers, dismal hotel wallpaper and some gruesomely sexual-looking geoducks. Miraculously, French keeps The Ticking's tone deadpan and charming, with laconic captions and long silent sequences — even the grossest moments are played for nervous giggles. She's an inimitable and masterful stylist, a kind of Edward Gorey who draws out the whimsical side of body-horror." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A gem that means more with every reading." Booklist
"The Ticking is a journey to a place we've never seen or imagined, yet which somehow and inexplicably we know intimately. To be so deeply moved in so many directions at once is a rare gift Renee French gives us, and it is nothing short of astonishing." Paul Provenza, director of The Aristocrats
"Renée French is that rare gift among artists — one whose work finds its way into the most guarded corners of our psyches and allows us to revel in all that is awkward, embarrassing, or sticky about being alive." Myla Goldberg, Author of Bee Season
Did your parents always want you to be or date the quarterback on the football team but you just weren't pretty enough? Do you feel that nobody can see past your deformities long enough to appreciate the real you? Read The Ticking. The story of a strange looking boy and his journey to manhood.
About the Author
Renée French has been making comics since the early '90s. Just about all of her comics published previous to The Soap Lady have been collected in Marbles in My Underpants: The Renée French Collection, from Oni Press. Her weekly strip "The Taint" can be seen at http://www.nypress.com. Some of her short works can be found in Rosetta, The Ganzfeld #2 and #3, Kramer's Ergot, and Top Shelf Asks the Big Questions. She lives in the bay area with her husband Rob and a hermit crab.
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