Schizo by Ivan Brunetti

Fantagraphics

With words and pictures being shoveled into the market at an unbelievable pace, it's no mystery why fewer comic books stand out. Finding one that doesn't look like everything else is reward enough, but in an era where everyone whose mom ever spanked him puts out a soul-searching comic book, it's particularly refreshing when the self-psychoanalysis is done by an actual sociopath. Ivan Brunetti's Schizo is the angriest, bitterest, vilest, most misanthropic berserker of a comic that's hit the jammed shelf space of America's comic book stores since Robert Crumb showed up in the '60s.

Brunetti, 29, grew up on Chicago's tough South Side after emigrating from Italy at age 8. He transforms the frustration of every high-school milksop into page after page of unrelenting spleen-venting. His targets: greedy capitalists, shallow culture, women without the depth to adore cartoonists who swear pervasively. And in case that sounds a tad platitudinous, take a quick look at the way Brunetti surveys this well-trod terrain.

In "1,784 things that make me vomit," Brunetti coughs it up for "all sports," "pointless, contrived body modification," "real men," "neuron-deficient trend-followers"--and himself. He stops counting at just 50, after shooting (and vomiting on) a young man who objects to his "disingenuous nihilistic/misanthropic elitist badass macho curmudgeon pose." Obviously, this stuff lives and dies with the quality of the writing and art. That Brunetti is great, and getting better at both is why Schizo is the comic book to watch in 1997.

 
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