Harvey Knight's Odyssey
Harvey Knight's Odyssey
By Nick Maandag. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Softcover, 168 pages, B&W, 2023.
Harvey Knight’s Odyssey is the latest book in Nick’s deepening catalog of jocular misery
Solarism is a religion that acknowledges there is a balance of light and dark in the Universe. But while solarists believe it is possible to achieve a state of Pure Light by exposing themselves to the rays of the sun (or tanning beds on cloudy days), the Forces of Dark conspire against them and send hooded Shadow Men to eliminate the Light. Subsequently, Solarists must kill these Shadow Men. It’s the only way. When a thief infiltrates the sacred chambers of the Solarists, Assistant-to-the-Master Harvey Knight must test the strength of his beliefs in order to restore order. Or maybe he’s plotting to overthrow the leader and make the religion his own. Either way, it’s an odyssey.
Nick Maandag has been making bone-dry and hilarious comics for years, exploring the ridiculousness of human vanity and beliefs. He approaches each comic with the understanding that we are all desperate to be seen and find the most outrageous ways to make that happen. Few cartoonists elicit belly laughs the way Nick does.
“I’m in awe of Nick Maandag’s imagination. With this book’s shifts between the mundane and the surreal, that imagination is on full display. I found it to be a thrilling reading experience. This is Maandag’s best work.”—Chester Brown, author of Louis Riel and Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus
“These stories are both funny-haha and funny-strange. Maandag’s world is a mix of banality and weirdness. Imagine The Office rewritten by David Lynch.”—Tom Gauld, author of Revenge of the Librarians
"Harvey Knight’s Odyssey [is] one of the strangest, funniest books you will read this, or any, year."—The Irish Times
"Corporate anomie and the madness of modernity are taken for a spin in this alternately ambitious and shoe-gazing collection of comics short stories from Maandag."—Publishers Weekly
“Compulsively readable and entirely unpredictable….True humor cartooning is maybe the most difficult genre to work within, and Maandag does so fearlessly.”—Comics Beat
"Both true to life and completely disarming."—Montreal Review of Books
"Nick Maandag is an astute observer and has an undeniably unique perspective on what it means to live in today’s increasingly fractional, irrational world. We need more voices like his because it is only by acknowledging the inanity of what we spend so much time doing that we can begin to try and change it."—Broken Frontier
"[Harvey Knight's Odyssey] could only be told by Nick Maandag... The collection features several stories that show drama and even horror in the mundane alongside the mind-boggling surreal."—BlogCritics
"For Maandag, the humor is found in that repeated defiance of reader expectations."—Rob Clough, High-Low