McGovern, Bernie – DemonTears



I have exactly one complaint to make about this utterly riveting, depressing, uplifting, real-as-it-gets-while-being-largely-based-in-dreams comic: it’s too short to be a proper graphic novel. Which doesn’t mean a damned thing in and of itself, as it doesn’t feel too long or too short. It’s just that graphic novels stick around for longer than single comics, and this comic deserves as long of a shelf life as is humanly possible. This comic deals with Bernie’s (or fake Bernie, in case this isn’t somewhat autobiographical) long trip out from alcoholism, told partially through bits of his real life and partially through a dream world that he is rudely forced into every night via his nightly blackouts. It would take a few thousand words for me to even attempt to explain all the symbolism and happenings in those dream bits, and I would most likely get chunks of it very wrong, but the Center for Cartoon Studies should put this in their curriculum toot sweet. The true horror/sadness of this comes in the real life bits. We see his hands start to shake as he’s drawing, happy evenings that he spent partying with friends always ending the same way, waking up just to take aspirin in the middle of the night, and his brief time spent sober with his family for dinner. The eventual conclusion wasn’t even remotely tidy, and it wasn’t meant to be followed by a group hug. Without giving anything away, he earned every bit of the events at the end of this book, and he deserves all the credit in the world for refusing to shy away from just what it took to get there. Flipping through this book again it just seems wrong for me to gloss over the dream parts the way I did, but they build such a careful narrative piece by piece that I’d feel like a dick just plucking bits out of context. I will tell you that Bernie is represented in his dreams by a floating brain that’s trailing a spine, and that does eventually become relevant. This book is an absolute triumph, and he depicts the warning signs clearly enough that there are bound to be a few people reading this who are looking at their own hands, wondering if that slight bit of shaking is just a side effect of getting old or if it’s from all the years of just a little too much booze. Buy it, tell your friends to buy it, and, if you know anybody in AA, you might think about passing some of these out at a meeting. Most human beings could learn a lot from this. $6

Posted on August 30, 2012, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on McGovern, Bernie – DemonTears.

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