By Dakota McFadzean. Published by Conundrum Press.
Softcover, 160 pages, 2-Colour, 2020.
Graphic shorts filled with horror, humour, and the absurd.
Award-winning Canadian cartoonist Dakota McFadzean returns with a brilliantly dark collection that offers a glimpse into the cracks between childhood imagination and the disappointing harshness of adulthood.
Populated by cruel bullies, exhausted parents, and relentless cartoon mascots, the world of To Know You’re Alive renders the familiar into something that is alien and absurd. The characters in these stories long to uncover something uncanny in shadowy attics and beneath masks, only to discover that sometimes it’s worse to find nothing at all.
About Dakota McFadzean
Dakota McFadzean is a Canadian cartoonist who has been published by MAD Magazine, The New Yorker, The Best American Comics, and Funny or Die. He has also worked as a storyboard artist for DreamWorks, and is an alumni of The Center for Cartoon Studies. To Know You’re Alive is McFadzean’s third book with Conundrum Press; other titles include Other Stories and the Horse You Rode in On, and Don’t Get Eaten by Anything, which collects three years of daily comic strips. He is a co-editor/co-founder of the comics and art anthology Irene, and distributes his own short stories in his ongoing mini-comic series, Last Mountain. McFadzean currently lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.
Advance Praise for To Know You’re Alive
“The writing is brilliant and imaginative, providing just a nudge in one direction or another that leaves the reader to fill in the blanks. It’s engaging, mysterious, and satisfying… The masterful art shifts styles from one story to the next to suit the mood, or sometimes to ironically oppose it. One half of an equal partnership, the images convey as much plot and characterization as does the text. To Know You’re Alive is a thoughtful, chilling peek into the darkest corners of life.” –Starred Review by Peter Dabbene, Foreword Reviews
Praise for Dakota McFadzean
“The wide open prairie of Saskatchewan, the domestication of garden gnomes, the psychoanalytic breakdown of 8-bit video games — into these and other subjects Dakota McFadzean digs with his pen and brush, unearthing truths that discomfit even as they entertain. This collection of his best work to date mashes cuteness into cruelty, hope into resignation, and life into death, leaving us with one slow-burning ball of phosphorescent comics.” — Jason Lutes (author of Berlin)
“Lurking in the background of this comic is the fear that you can’t protect your children; the fear that you are going to be like your parents; or the fear that you won’t be able to give your child more than what you had. But perhaps more remarkable… is how well it blends autobiography and supernatural horror. It’s a standard reflective parenting comic, until it’s not. And in that moment when the boundary is crossed, that’s where McFadzean’s work shines.” –Alex Hoffman, Sequential State
“Other Stories offers a glimpse into a mind dedicated to opening up worlds of possibility just to see what might happen. Each story pits the limitless imagination and optimism of childhood against the realities of the adult world. Thankfully, the playfulness ultimately wins the day.” – Quill & Quire