Synopses & Reviews
You are looking at (or: you are holding) the book Ex Libris by Matt Madden. Maybe you came looking for it, maybe you just came across it in a bookstore or at someone's house. Maybe you are reading this in a catalogue on a screen. What kind of adventure do you think takes place in these pages? To judge by the cover design and the title, it would seem that books themselves are a subject of this book. Does this book have a comic book as its hero? If you put the book down now, you'll never find out, but on the other hand imaginary, hypothetical versions of the story will branch off endlessly in some corner of your mind. If you do want to find out what happens, all you need to do is open the book and read the first page. But be careful: you might just get sucked in
Ex Libris revolves around a character trapped in a room with nothing but a futon and a bookcase full of comics. As they peruse covers, read stories and fragments of stories, they begin to suspect that the comics contain hidden messages and... a threat. Fiction and reality blur; sanity and madness become increasingly intertwined as the reader becomes convinced the key to their predicament is to be found between the panels of the strange books. With a dizzying array of inventive visual and narrative styles, Ex Libris continues the line of exploration and play that Madden initiated with 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Ex Libris is a tribute to the meta-fictional tradition of writers like Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cort zar, Vladimir Nabokov, and Italo Calvino (whose novel, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, was the inspiration).
MATT MADDEN (NYC 1968) is a cartoonist, teacher, and translator. His best-known book is 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style, a comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style. His recent work includes the comic books Drawn Onward and Bridge. He has been living in Philadelphia since 2016.