Graphic artist Rick Wattís world is falling apart around him both figuratively and literally in this dark comedy written and illustrated by Shane White, the acclaimed author of North Country. Heís gone through a series of jobs, always beginning each with initial high hopes but fairly quickly getting bored - either because itís too much like his previous jobs or he doesnít get along with the other employees because theyíve been around longer and have formed cliques. Not that he goes out of his way to try to fit in, though.
Romantically speaking, heís also stuck in a rut. He only dates fellow employees, who are either psychos or attractive but needy (at the time, anyway) women he asks to move in with him (which they do). If a woman moves in with him - like his girlfriend, Nat (Natalie) - he always does something to destroy the relationship, as if he subconsciously thinks he doesnít deserve to be in a lasting relationship with a beautiful woman. His distancing behavior leads to his failure at any long-term relationship in a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
The coolest way his world falls apart? Parts of his very body fall off - one of his eyeballs, a finger, a foot, and an ear - a symptom of his zombiefication and symbolic of how everything and everyone in his life also seem to be failing him and leaving him. To be deserted by oneís own body parts has to be the ultimate form of rejection. Is this happening in real life or only in Rickís vivid imagination? Probably the latter, though itís still entertaining to watch his life crumble around him and see his body doing the same, rendered lovingly in shades of primarily orange and black by the author.
The illustrations of Rick remind me of a Gorillaz rock video. Rickís fingers are drawn with their ends squared off, like those of the main male character in many of the Gorillazís music videos, or of the title character of the animated cartoon Samurai Jack. Thatís a good thing - as far as Iím concerned, anyway, because I really like the artwork of both of these examples. Not that Whiteís drawings imitate this particular style; he makes some of the stylistic elements his own and builds on them.
High points include a demon or stone idol lurching through Rickís computer screen and grabing him. Itís also pretty cool when one of Rickís eyeballs pops out of its socket and his and Natís cat plays with it for awhile, batting it around until Rick can get it from the cat and plop it back into its socket; when Rickís foot snaps off at the ankle; and when one of his ears falls off at work and he gets a stapler and staples it back on.
Things Undone is an excellent graphic novel featuring the artwork of one of todayís best rising graphic artists and authors. The foreword by Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead, shows how much esteem White is held in by his peers. If you like original, imaginative graphic novels with a touch of zombie fun thrown in, I highly recommend Things Undone.