Book Review: Michael DeForge's Graphic Novel 'Big Kids' Combines Tight Narrative With Surreal Visuals

One of the most remarkable aspects of Michael DeForge's latest graphic novel, Big Kids (published by Drawn & Quarterly), is the way the visuals shift as the main character matures.

This is the first time I've encountered DeForge's work. I was drawn to it after reading high praise for the short graphic novel -- praise, I might add, that seems to me entirely justified.

With Big Kids, readers get far more than a coming of age story. Topics like bullying, police brutality, drug use and sexuality are tightly woven into the narrative. But it's the relationship between those episodes and the art style DeForge employs that make the work so memorable.

DeForge's use of abstract visuals, as well as a strangely fitting metaphor, convey the confusion and shift in perspective that young people experience as they feel their way to adulthood.

Memories fade. Places change. Relationships shift: Some people in our lives let us down; other people lift us up. Each experience informs an always-evolving perspective on life.

DeForge has managed to capture this reality of adolescence and growing up convincingly with an unforgettable marriage between word and picture.

Big Kids, by Michael DeForge

Big Kids, by Michael DeForge