Everything Can Be Beaten
written by: SAH
I just picked up an odd little story by a small press writer/artist team. The work is "Everything Can Be Beaten" and it's put out by Slave Labor Press. I bought it at the comic shop, but I wouldn't really say it's a "comic book." It's more like a really disturbing children's book.
Both the writer and the artist claim (jokingly) to be possessed by evil forces, and the story certainly plays out as if they are. It reads as if it were written in a day, but the art obviously took much longer to do.
I suppose it sounds like I didn't like it so far, but that is certainly not the case, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It is quite nasty, but it was still a fun read (assuming you have the ability to take kittens pummeled with a hammer in light frothy fun).
The story is essentially about a creature ("IT") who I think is a goblin. He likes to smash stuff. One day he goes on a journey to a beautiful happy world, leaving his dark world and "kitten chute" behind. He is depressed until he finds out everything can be beaten. }:) The story is more well crafted and a bit more existential than it's content would lead you to believe. It opens with what I think is a classic philosophical question, though drastically recontextualized: "IT stands away, interrupting himself from the incessant hammering of the kittens dropping from the chute, and asks himself, 'Is this all that there is?'" This is a story about possibilities and exploration. It encourages you to explore your world and what lies beyond what you know. then, depending on how you take it, it either illustrates that you should find something you like in life and do it... or it tells you to take what you find in this new unexplored reality and smash it with a hammer. For some people this just happens to be the same thing. It is also a tale of loneliness and about finding where you really belong (and what you're good at). I found it touching and disturbing at the same time.
I found the text vivid and a good illustration of the pictures that went with it, so I'm going to quote some favorite lines here in just a moment. But to sum up... I liked it. It is wicked, dark fun and well produced. And at only $3.50, it was priced just right. If you like dark humor and good (if bloody) artwork, pick this little gem up and help out some struggling (some would say for a good reason) artists out.
Now for the text morsels:
"... skipping is bad and can shake away the thin crumbs of happiness that settle on the brain, leaving only the adorable clarity of the doomed."
"... he cries, showering the happy creatures of the valley with sadness, the kind of sadness that burns on contact with skin and will be the source of many health problems in years to come."
"'Sweet whorish mother of merciless GOD! What have you done?!' howls the happy cloud ... 'We welcome you into our joyful land and you bring pain, suffering and beatings!'"
"'Everything can be beaten,' concludes it. Truer words have never been gurgled hideously."
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