Wednesday, June 15, 2011


A love note to comics as a form, commentary on the business-side of the industry, and mystery story, Hicksville is the story of Leonard Batts, a biographer, trying to unearth the origins of Dick Burger, the most successful comics creator in America. He knows next to nothing about Burger's formative years and has a very difficult time finding Hicksville, a small town in New Zealand that is not on any maps. What he finds there amazes him: People from all ages and walks of life read and talk about comics. The library has complete runs of classics such as Action Comics but also obscurities like mini-comics from Mongolia. And everybody refuses to say anything about Dick Burger.

This story originally appeared serially from 1993 to 1997 in Pickle and originally was published as a collection with 50 new pages in 1998. This edition has some introductory material added where we see a frank discussion of the author's career as well as some shifts in the comics industry since. It also has copious back matter to help explain the many comics references within the narrative, for unfamiliar readers.

Hicksville is the creation of Dylan Horrocks, a New Zealand born comics artist who has mostly worked on his own creator-owned works but has also written for DC on books like Batgirl and Hunter: The Age of Magic. Horrocks publishes most of his new work on his own site, Hicksville Comics.

Hicksville has been a largely celebrated book. Richard from the Forbidden Planet International blog wrote that it "is staggeringly good, a perfect exploration of all that is right, and much that is wrong, with this beautiful, unique medium." W. Scott Poole sees the book as beautiful, vibrant, and still, sadly, very relevant concerning a comics industry that has changed little in 20 years. Peter Gutiérrez offered that it is "the rare work that manages to be both brainy and silly with equal credibility."

A pdf preview, a series of review blurbs, and other resources can be found here from Drawn & Quarterly.

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