“Underground comics legend Panter, a veteran of the L.A. punk scene in the ’70s, reimagines John Milton’s ‘Paradise Regained’ in this breathtakingly original graphic novel.”
Featured in LA Times’ Best Fiction books of 2017.
Gary Panter is a cornucopian cartoonist who rose to fame in the eighties as the leading expounder of punk comics, who has always been interested in interlacing literature and mystical fantasy to create wryly, but interesting comics.
Panter’s latest comic, Songy of Paradise, is a brilliant creation that beautifully elaborates on his aesthetics. This book relevantly comments on our daily world and at the same time, contradicts the day to day concerns that he trades for the contentedness of thinking along under-traveled paths. With only 40 pages as the total count, the book is large, approximately 11-by-15 inches. This will give it a feel of looking at Panter’s pen-and-ink drawings in original form, rather than their contemporary reproductions.
Songy, who is the title character of the work, is a star-crossed yet innocuous clodhopper on a vision quest. He roams through the desert, wearing just a stocking cap on his pointy head and a belt made of rope that tightly clinches up his worn shorts, endlessly waiting for enlightenment. Songy doesn’t achieve an awakening but encounters Satan, who tempts him with power, riches, and food.
At times, Panter’s large designs take up the entire page, with carefully inserted panels that denote the passage of time within a giant, stationary landscape.
Aesthetically, this book is an imitation chosen from imaginaries and other sources and at the same time, a handcrafted comic too.