Less Is More Than Nothing

A Review of a New Graphic Novel

Not many are familiar with the work of the mysterious artist, Brian Zero, who for several years has been laboring behind the scenes of the now-burgeoning graphic-novel phenomenon. Previous to the publication of his most recent work, “Little Specks of Nothing”, every publisher the artist approached consistently rejected his work. Yet, he has carried on, producing cartoon strips and comic books of unyielding vacuity. Starting with “The Potato Chronicles”, his earliest work, and moving quickly on through his several subsequent efforts, the reader is struck by the utter lack of humor, meaningful content or artistic skill. Mr. Zero seems intent on resisting even the occurrence of the occasional artistic accidents which can be interpreted as evidence of possible talent and which other, less mediocre artists have seized upon as useful in constructing their careers. Among the subjects tackled over the years by this artist have been root vegetables, pocket-change, clock-faces, doorknobs, shoe-laces, paperweights, lint, and dust, all rendered in the ultra-spare style which he favors and which finds it’s nadir in his latest work. With “Little Specks of Nothing”, the artist has finally stripped his art down to it’s purest form, in which he finds actual drawing and writing completely superfluous, providing the reader with only the barest of clues to decipher his dubious intent. As this reviewer scanned the seemingly unending flow of empty or near-empty panels of Mr. Zero‘s opus, he was overcome with a trance-like state of mind akin to the effects of primitive lobotomy or, no doubt in this case, merely extreme ennui.

One is surprised by the heft of this 4oo-plus page coffee-table tome, given it’s apparent lack of content, yet it’s weight is sufficient to cause injury when accidentally dropped on one’s toe, as was the case with this reviewer, who inadvertently drifted off during his perusal of the book, which slipped, both metaphorically and physically, from his grasp.

This is a title worth noting if for no other reason than to avoid unnecessary pain.


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