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Ellsworth, Theo – Capacity



Probably the toughest thing about this “job” is reading something that is absolutely brilliant, existing in its own world and needing no further explanation or description… and then rambling about it for a paragraph or so.  This, like damned near everything I’ve seen from Secret Acres (what do they feed those people anyway?) is an utterly unique and fascinating thing.  It’s ostensibly a collection of the seven Capacity mini comics, but Theo takes the whole process apart and explains why everything happened the way it did, all the while never leaving his bizarre, only mildly realistic idea of the world.  The book starts with the reader pulled right onto the page, literally, as he often addresses _______ (your name here).  Instructions are given at various times as to how to improve your reading experience, and “you” end up being pivotal to how he solves all his problems.  If you think any of this sounds boring or ridiculous… OK, it may be mildly ridiculous, but never anything less than completely engrossing.  Theo’s version of reality only barely resembles any commonly accepted notion, and it’s a delight seeing where his brain takes him from page to page.  This is one of those rare books where just about anything would make an excellent sample, so in narrowing it down to one I just took one of the most gorgeous images in the book… and I can’t believe I’ve rambled this long without mentioning the art.  Stunning, impossibly intricate, mesmerizing, and plenty of other words that haven’t been invented yet.  I have no idea how he spends so much time in his own head coming up with these stories when each page much take him days and days to draw.  As for the story, we follow Theo as he tries to “do something” (the seven issues of Capacity), all while taking criticisms way too much to heart, and exploring every corner of his brain.  He also has a loop at the end where time goes back to the start of the book, but I don’t want to ruin anything.  And yes, that includes talking about the actual contents too much.  His website has loads of samples if you somehow have doubts about his art after viewing the sample, and seriously, these Secret Acres people need to know that their work is being appreciated, and that means buying their graphic novels.  Hey, it’s almost the holidays, you must know somebody who still reads.  Oh, and have I mentioned that this thing is a mammoth 336 pages?  $15