By Michael DeForge. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Hardcover, 96 pages, Colour, 2016.
TEENAGE MISFITS AND ADOLESCENT RABBLE-ROUSING TAKE CENTER STAGE IN THIS DARK COMING-OF-AGE TALE
Big Kids is simultaneously Michael DeForge's most straightforward narrative and his most complex work to date. It follows a troubled teenage boy through the transformative years of high school as he redefines his friends, his interests, and his life path. When the boy's uncle, a police officer, gets kicked out of the family's basement apartment and transferred to the countryside, April moves in. She's a college student, mysterious and cool, and she quickly takes a shine to the boy.
The boy's own interests quickly fade away: he stops engaging in casual sex, taking drugs, and testing the limits of socially acceptable (and legal) behavior. Instead, he hangs out with April and her friends, a bunch of highly evolved big kids who spend their days at the campus swimming pool. And slowly, the boy begins to change, too.
Eerie and perfectly paced, DeForge's Big Kids muses on the complicated, and often contradictory, feelings people struggle with during adolescence, the choices we make to fit in, and the ways we survive times of change. Like Ant Colony and First Year Healthy, Big Kids is a testimony to the harshness and beauty of being alive.
In the world of comics, there’s no shortage of narratives about adolescence. But you’ve probably never read one as memorably surreal as Michael DeForge’s Big Kids.Vulture
A coming-of-age allegory with [a] surreal twist.Toronto Star
... an outstanding work by one of the most original voices in comics today.The Quietus
Michael DeForge’s Big Kids comic is a transcendental heartbreaker.The Fader
A brilliant showcase of his talent for crafting introspective personal narratives and inspired alien worlds, Big Kids is a bildungsroman that focuses on how one’s perspective of the world changes as they get older.The A.V Club
Big Kids allows us to transfer our own complex feelings onto the indistinguishable faces and bodies of these trees, even if we don’t – or can’t – feel exactly what the artist feels at all times.Quill & Quire
A mesmerizing, poetic rumination on how we exist in the world, all exquisitely rendered with DeForge’s storytelling masteryPublishers Weekly
A haunting take on growing up and discovering that life is a much stranger journey than one could ever imaginePaste
As a fable of personal and generational growth — and an examination of the challenges of trying to measure yours against others — DeForge’s tale unfolds on its own terms, with its own symbols employed. Never has a cartoonist’s work been quite so alien, yet so very familiar at the same time.Comics Beat
Big Kids… deliver[s] a touching, if somewhat disturbed, take on a classic tale of adolescent angst.BoingBoing