Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Megahex may very well be the funniest and saddest graphic novel I read this year. On the surface, the stories seem simple enough. There are three roommates, Megg (a witch), Mogg (her cat/lover), and Owl (a large anthropomorphic Owl) living in a house. They get high, they pull pranks on each other, and they cavort with their friends. Much of the beginning of the book is full of drug humor and gross bits, like an ugly feet contest and their friend Werefwolf Jones taking a grater to his genitals (it's not pretty). What is pretty is the painterly quality of the art, with cartoon images combined with watercolors. The storytelling is also quite deft, with a combination of one page gags like this:
It also has extended sequences like this one, which are episodic looks at their mundane lives:

Owl often is the butt of abuse, and for the most part these sequences are darkly humorous. As I read the book though, I began to realize more and more that it was also strongly about Megg's depression and her overwhelming sense of dread. The latter sequences of the book are a strong portrayal of a very troubled person trying to anesthetize herself to reality. So, in the end for me, this book is a great mass of contradictions: beautiful art used to tell base, stoner jokes and a pretty basic humor structure that slowly builds into a very serious drama. Megahex is a provocative and complex piece of art.

Simon Hanselmann created this book. He publishes new Megg, Mogg, and Owl webcomics each week at VICE. He speaks about his life, inspirations, and work on this book in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read of this book praise it highly. Hilary Brown wrote, "There may be an abundance of stoner comedies, but very few stoner tragedies exist; Hanselmann’s subtle approach makes Megahex both at the same time." Henry Chamberlain explained, "Megahex, as is apt for its name, has magic. It is also way out there, our best connection today to the heyday of the comix underground." Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review and concluded. "The story is depressing as often as it is funny, a cautionary tale that’s at its best when Hanselmann spreads his writing wings, extending beyond a gag strip into an honest exploration of his deeply flawed leads."

And if it is unclear by now, this is a book strictly for adults. It is full of drug use, sexual situations, crude humor, explicit language, disgusting bodily functions, and adult themes.

Megahex was published by Fantagraphics Books, and they provide a preview and much more here.

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