Hans Rickheit The Squirrel Machine

ISBN 13: 9781606993019

The Squirrel Machine

3.59 avg rating
( 390 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781606993019: The Squirrel Machine

An anachronistic parable for the convulsive elite.

What is the squirrel machine? Is it a rodent ensnarement device? A mechanism for concealing one’s guarded harvest? An anachronistic fable? A meaningless diversion?

Set in a fictional 19th Century New England town, the narrative initially details the relationship and maturation of Edmund and William Torpor. But the two brothers quickly elicit the scorn and recrimination of an unamused public when they reveal their musical creations built from strange technologies and scavenged animal carcasses. Driven to seek a concealment for their aberrant activities, they make a startling discovery. Perhaps they will divine the mystery of the squirrel machine.

What is The Squirrel Machine?
  • An immutably strange and haunting narrative that transcends known logics and presumptive dream-barriers;
  • A distillation of subconscious beauty and inspired madness;
  • A dangerous object for the incautious;
  • A revelation for the undernourished crypto-seeker;
  • The virgin caress of unconsummated apocalypse;
  • The unspeakable thing that you always knew.
It’s also the longest and most ambitious graphic novel by legendary obscurantist cartoonist Hans Rickheit, 200 pages of exquisitely rendered pictorial narrative. Meticulous, strange, and hauntingly beautiful, this enigmatic work will ensure the inquisitive reader a spleenful of cerebral serenity that will take exposure to vast quantities of mediocrity to dispel. 192 b&w illustrations

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About the Author:

Hans Rickheit was born in 1973 and grew up in New England, lived in the basement of an eccentric art gallery/performance space called the Zeitgeist Gallery from 1997 to 2002, and currently resides in Massachusetts. He is the author of the graphic novel Chloe, the comics series Chrome Fetus, and has appeared in various anthologies, including Paper Rodeo, Hoax, and Kramers Ergot.

Review:

“A darkly disturbing, brilliantly drawn story...B&W pen and ink drawings elucidate complex machines and Victorian-era architecture in baroque detail, while surrealist imaginings take turns for the truly repugnant. Sexual perversion, putrefaction and serial-killer style artworks are all ornately portrayed, as are the buildings, shops, horse-drawn carriages and crumbling mansions of a 19th-century small town. The story, while told primarily in pictures, includes a stilted and formal dialogue that only adds to the perversity....Though not for the faint of heart, this obscure tale will offer rich rewards to the right kind of reader, one who appreciates grotesque horror, angry mobs and the creative explosion of a repressed Victorian sexuality.”
- Publishers Weekly

“[A] compelling, fascinating journey through an often creepy and always striking world, one that's regularly quite hilarious... You might be able to attempt an interpretation, one that will be just as valid as any, but it's just as legitimate to go along for the ride and see where Rickheit takes you. It won't be where you expect, that's for sure.”
- Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues

“Comics creator Hans Rickheit's new graphic novel, The Squirrel Machine, is a stylish and surreal tale of brothers dabbling in the forbidden unknown.”
- John Seven, Worcester Magazine

“[T]he velvety ease of the narrative and the facile blend of sexual, familial and natural intimacies on display suggest one of those steps forward with which the comics medium has been blessed over and over again this past decade. One falls through The Squirrel Machine as much as reads it, and the collection of feelings it imparts is as much due to the clarity of its narrative as it is the horror show that occasionally surges toward the reader from some deep place in Rickheit's mind, righteous and angry and wet.”
- Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

“Applying draftsmanship resembling Rick Geary’s in the Treasury of Victorian Murder series to a plot often as confounding as the dream transcriptions of Rick Veitch’s Rare Bit Fiends, Rickheit tells the late nineteenth- century story of brothers Edmund and William Torpor, aging recluses in the denouement framing a long central flashback to their boyhood and adolescence.... Very dreamlike, rather Hieronymus Boschian, only wryly Freudian―a disquieting, disgusting, entrancing reading experience.”
- Ray Olson, Booklist

“Rickheit is an artist just beginning to scratch the surface of our subconscious and his talent is revealing its dark secrets.”
- Robert Shamlin, Reviewer Magazine

“Not enough praise can be heaped upon Rickheit for fully realizing, texture by texture, pattern by pattern, loose limb by loose limb, his own comics world.”
- Henry Chamberlain, Poopsheet

“An anachronistic parable for the convulsive elite.”
- Graphic Novel Reporter

“[A]wesome to behold.... When life and love, of a sort, finally do reassert themselves at The Squirrel Machine's end, it's horrifying and drawn in a fashion that makes it look less like a natural thing and more like a terrible apparition, or a special effect.”
- Sean T. Collins

“Wielded skilfully, images are as expressive as words, and occasionally more so. Rickheit's drawings convey the boys' tortured feelings of persecution, elation and curiosity―as well as their uncouth creative urges―in a succinct and often gruesome way. Rickheit's frames vary from the cluttered to the stark, and his ability to pack detail into four square inches is rivaled only by his ingenious use of white space. ...The Squirrel Machine convinces anew that a picture is worth a thousand words.”
- Molly Young, Intelligent Life

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