Cover image for Leaving Richard's valley
Title:
Leaving Richard's valley
ISBN:
9781770463431
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
479 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 18 cm.
Summary:
Richard is a benevolent but tough leader. He oversees everything that happens in the valley, and everyone loves him for it. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his friends-Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog, and Ellie Squirrel-take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard's strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they've ever known. Michael DeForge's Leaving Richard's Valley expands from a bizarre hero's quest into something more. As this ragtag group makes their way out of the valley, and then out of the park and into the big city, we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters, and more. DeForge is idiosyncratically funny but also deeply insightful about community, cults of personality, and the condo-ization of cities. These eye-catching and sometimes absurd comics coalesce into a book that questions who our cities are for and how we make community in a capitalist society. --
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Summary

Summary

When a group of outcasts have to leave the valley, how will they survive the toxicity of the big city? Richard is a benevolent but tough leader. He oversees everything that happens in the valley, and everyone loves him for it. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his friends�Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog, and Ellie Squirrel�take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard�s strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they�ve ever known. Michael DeForge�s Leaving Richard�s Valley expands from a bizarre hero�s quest into something more. As this ragtag group makes their way out of the valley, and then out of the park and into the big city, we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters, and more. DeForge is idiosyncratically funny but also deeply insightful about community, cults of personality, and the condoization of cities. These eye-catching and sometimes absurd comics coalesce into a book that questions who our cities are for and how we make community in a capitalist society.


Author Notes

Michael DeForge was born in 1987 and has written eight books including Ant Colony, First Year Healthy, Big Kids, and Sticks Angelica. He has been a celebrity judge for the Midland Buttertart Festival. He is currently on a treadmill.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ignatz-winning cartoonist Deforge (Big Kids) succeeds in creating a weird, witty epic in this, the longest and yet most accessible of his graphic novels. Set in a Toronto where humans and animals (and other creatures, such as a heart shape with legs) have learned to communicate, Deforge follows the odyssey of four animals banished from the valley commune of titular cult leader Richard as they travel to the big city and back again. DeForge's simple, curved figures are the foundation for a rambling narrative revolving around the lives of over two dozen characters. Reminiscent of other funny satirical animal comics such as Walt Kelly's Pogo and Jon Lewis's True Swamp, DeForge's work pokes fun at celebrity culture, nihilistic musical movements, the arbitrary quality of utopian cults of personality, unfettered capitalism, and gentrification. It's also about symbiotic relationships, what people owe to one another, the problematic qualities of love, and how various ethical systems play out. DeForge experiments with narrative and visual approaches, using the constraint of a four-panel grid. The art varies from stick figures to photorealism, and the story employs elements such as musical theater, documentary, and body horror. Incorporating the idiosyncratic visual elements and themes that have made DeForge an underground rising star, this fluid, funny narrative is poised to break out to a wider readership. (Mar.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Richard's Valley is a bucolic setting where off-kilter animals dwell alongside affectless humans under the benevolent but resolute hand of its eponymous leader. But when Ellie the Squirrel, Neville the Dog, and Omar the Spider defy Richard's edicts to save the life of Lyle the Raccoon, they're expelled from the valley, which turns out to be just a corner of a Toronto city park. Exiled to the city, the motley group is forced to live in an unfamiliar and unforgiving world, turning to newly found if arbitrary skills supermodeling, architecture, noise-rock to survive. At the same time, they must tackle urban challenges ranging from traffic to gentrification as well as enduring strains on their longtime friendships. Leaving Richard's Valley originally appeared as a webcomic, and the discipline of producing daily installments has focused DeForge's storytelling. While his drawings remain bizarrely idiosyncratic the animals are barely recognizable as such, with Lyle the Raccoon resembling a Valentine's heart with legs they've gained graphic clarity, and his narrative is more linear and coherent than usual. Within DeForge's wildly fanciful tale lie honest insights about the importance of community and the struggle to find a place in society, delivered in a richly imaginative and totally singular mode.--Gordon Flagg Copyright 2019 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Deep inside a Toronto public park lives a group of humans and animals completely dedicated to the teachings of their leader, a mysterious man named Richard who promises that his adherents will stay free of lethal toxins as long as they follow his rules. When a raccoon named Lyle gets sick and his friends--a dog, a spider, and a squirrel--defy Richard by looking outside their community for help, the creatures find themselves exiled. As their search for a new home brings them into contact with city dwellers whose lives they previously could never have imagined, the animals themselves begin to change and long for more out of life. DeForge (Brat) delivers an idiosyncratic sense of humor and keen insight into the ways that communities cohere, adapt to change, and sometimes crumble. VERDICT Prolific and versatile, DeForge excels at combining wit and pathos, and this collection, originally serialized online, serves as a great entry point for readers interested in his body of work and is quite possibly the best he's released to date.