Synopses & Reviews
From the astonishing imagination of Dash Shaw, visionary author of Bottomless Belly Button
, comes a darkly fantastical graphic novel about a small town, a lowlife botanist, and a mysterious plant with strange powers.
It's 2060, and a devastating civil war has left the country in shambles. Professor Paulie Panther – botanist, writer, and hopeless romantic – arrives in the experimental forest town of Boney Borough to research a strange plant growing behind the high school. As he conducts his research, he befriends some of the local residents: Miss Jem, the alluring science teacher; Billy Borg, Boney Borough's star athlete; and Pearl Peach, the rebellious schoolgirl. Paulie soon discovers that the plant, when smoked, imparts telepathic powers. But when he shares this remarkable drug with his new friends, he finds that they're not interested in mind-expansion. In fact, it appears that Paulie's brash individualism might not be at all welcome in a town that prefers conformity to eccentricity.
Nominated for a 2009 Eisner Award and with a bold, innovative design, BodyWorld is a mind-blowing blend of science-fiction, classic high school drama, and futuristic what-if. It is at once funny and fearless – and sure to be the graphic novel event of the year.
"A fantastic follow-up to Shaw's widely praised first full-length graphic novel, 2008's Bottomless Belly Button, Body World treads very different territory. Boney Borough is a pastoral planned community in a dystopic future, where everyone knows each other's names and young romance blossoms at the high school 'die-ball' games. But like all idyllic suburban communities, Boney Borough has a drug problem, and a newcomer, tweaked-out drug 'researcher' Paulie Panther, takes advantage of it. Panther discovers a new kind of plant in the woods outside town, that, when smoked, allows people to telepathically experience one another's bodies and minds. Introduced to the local youth, the drug wreaks havoc with Boney Borough in some very unusual ways. First published as a serial comic on the author's Web site, the print version has added scenes, with gorgeous full-color pages to be read from top to bottom, as if you were scrolling through the story from beginning to end. This is key for the climactic scene, which unfurls in one extended panel. Shaw's willingness to experiment with his drawing style pays off particularly in pages portraying the effects of the drug with abstract blurring and melding of images. Another brilliant work that is sure to attract loads of attention and praise this year." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Masterfully drawn and delightfully tossed-off... A mix of darkly funny, kaleidoscopically challenging and eerily discomfiting interactions.... Reading the book will take you on a long, strange trip where the final destination will make you value the fact that you own your thoughts, no matter how twisted they are.” Time Out New York (four out of five stars)
"A graphic novel that seems not only to expand the possibilities of the form but explode them.... Just hop aboard and enjoy the ride." Kirkus (starred review)
"A Brave New World for our time." Library Journal
"Before you read Dash Shaw's BodyWorld
, you should note his strict instructions inside the cover: 'THIS BOOK IS FOR IDEAL READERS ONLY!!!' Is that you? Consider the fact that even before you wade into the story, you'll have to grapple with it as a physical object. Will your first thought be 'This is one beautiful book' or 'Dear lord, this is annoying to read'?
You see, BodyWorld
was originally serialized online (and is still available, if you prefer) to be read in long, vertical strips of screen. The book does its best to recreate this experience by forcing readers to hold the book lengthways, spine horizontal, hands clutching top and bottom. It's amazing how a simple gimmick can make the book feel so alien. It's fitting -- irritating as hell, but fitting nonetheless -- for BodyWorld
's subject matter. Martyn Pedler, Bookslut
(read the entire Bookslut review)
From the astonishing imagination of the author of Bottomless Belly Button comes a darkly fantastical graphic novel about a small town, a lowlife botanist, and a mysterious plant with strange powers.
About the Author
Dash Shaw grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the School of Visual Arts. A prolific cartoonist and animator, he is the author of the 2008 graphic novel Bottomless Belly Button. He lives in Brooklyn.