One Beautiful Spring Day

Fantagraphics. May 2022. 408p. ISBN 9781683965558. $49.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
When his home is destroyed by a sinkhole that opens suddenly during a croquet match, Frank (a bucktoothed, pantomiming everyman whom creator Woodring describes as a “generic anthropomorph”) takes a job maintaining menacing machinery at a bizarre factory. The tedious work and hazardous conditions soon compel Frank to join a coworker’s workplace rebellion, kickstarting a series of calamitous misadventures that result in Frank’s exile to a remote jungle. There he meets a female counterpart named Fran and is so smitten that he ignores her increasingly erratic behavior until it’s too late for anything but regret. Later, Frank finds a snail shell-shaped device that generates an enormous, writhing entity that absconds with Frank’s dog-like companions, Pupshaw and Pushpaw. This volume combines three of Woodring’s previously released wordless graphic novels starring Frank (Congress of the Animals, Fran, and Poochytown), plus 100 new pages, in a complex, cohesive, deeply affecting epic.
VERDICT Woodring’s animation-influenced cartooning creates a powerful sense of fluid motion across panels bursting with fantastic imagery. This hallucinatory adventure resonates with the intensity of raw self-disclosure.
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