(Alternative, 2002)
™ and © Alternative Comics

Creator Graham Annable collects a number of his strips and stories into a single volume that explores how emotional extremes can yield extraordinary change.

For most of the stories, Annable follows a ridiculously simple but brilliant formula, although each tale is anything but formulaic: Through any given situation, even the most mundane, Annable establishes a suitable mood or tone. No sooner is this done than the conflict is introduced by turning the established mood on its ear: Elation is turned to dread, cruelty to remorse, infatuation to resentment. The result? The tale of a man brushing his teeth before bedtime turns into a tale of planetary liberation a galaxy away.

Or a man goes from the bliss of his simple lifestyle to sleepless guilt, when a horrid vision makes him realize he inadvertently killed a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident, only to return to a blissful existence on the realization that he got away with it. To go with these endless scenarios, and endless emotions, is an equally endless variety of conflict implementation. Sometimes the emotional upheaval is within one character, sometimes between a pair. Most of the stories are funny, but others are poignant. Some end as simply as they began, some are grand journeys. But all are fantastic.

Annable’s characters look like they’re straight out of a Flintstones cartoon, and this makes the stories that are meant to be funny come across that way. Surprisingly, though, this style doesn’t detract from those that are more serious; if anything, the art is ironically fitted to the darker stories; it’s merely one more contrast in a book that’s full of contrast.

— Jim Johnson

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