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Review of Cadaver

Cadaver: A Bittersweet Love Story
Jonah D. Ansell

Academy Chicago Publishers

Illustrated by Carina Simmons, Eric Vennemeyer & Abe Dieckman

Available February 5, 2013

Cadaver began as a poem, but it's become quite a bit more than that. It's a book. It's also a film. And it's a sweet, sort of sad comment on human relationships.

This was a lark for me initially. As you may know, I've been slowly acclimating myself to the zombie fad that's got everyone so excited. A graphic novel about a walking, talking dead guy seemed like a decent way to go. Of course, as has been the case of late, I was happily surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this book.

What got me first was the artistry. As a kid, I spent my lunch money on comic books and sketched cartoons on my math homework, so I tend to hold this form of art in higher esteem than the Renaissance masterpieces. And the folks behind Cadaver have certainly mastered their art. Their inspired use of perspective and focus already tell half the story -- no words needed. And the depictions of the characters -- facial expressions, body postures, individual details -- do so much to convey the wealth of emotions that lie at the heart of the story.

Because, yes, there's more here than a string of rhymes about a dead dude. This is a surprisingly potent examination of love, specifically our expectations of love. What it means, where it's found, who we share it with. Couched beneath the trappings of comic-zombie wit is something quite meaningful. Bittersweet, indeed.

But don't get scared off by thoughts of poetic introspection. This book is, above all else, whimsical and humorous. For one, the dead dude... kinda 'nuf said, there. Plus the character Lynn, a waifish med-student inspired by the author's sister, is adorably illustrated and damnably funny. The poetry itself is engaging in a tongue-in-cheek manner, absurd in all the right spots and graced with a rollicking pace.

To summarize: definitely read it and/or watch the film. (view the trailer)

The book was received courtesy of NetGalley and Academy Chicago Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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