Our memories of difficult times in our lives are so intertwined with emotion, it becomes difficult at times to think about it clearly. Cara Bean’s Gorilla Year looks back on her time as a graduate student, studying painting in Seattle, and instead of telling a straight-forward story, this first issue lets dreamlike imagery flood in.
In a theatre where she is both patron and staff, Cara watches a movie starring herself in which the city of Seattle transforms her into a gorilla. Gorilla-Cara is soon joined by a silver back, erupting out of Mount Ranier. Fellow audience members shift from squirrels to gorillas to cats to dogs to no one at all. Cara wanders through crowded streets, public art, past a troll under a bridge singing a forlorn Elvis song to a bus headed toward the completion of grad school.
Every page of the comic -which features mostly horizontal panels, giving it a cinematic feel- is so loaded with odd imagery with no explanation, it’s clear Cara has invited us to view her recollection this time in her life, but she feels no obligation to spell things out for us. If your curiosity is not piqued by this abstract introduction, go back and read it again. Soon you will be wondering what significance even the most mundane object in a panel may represent!
(THESE COPIES ARE DISCOUNTED BECAUSE THEY ARE SLIGHTLY DENTED!)
“This is an amusing stream-of-consciousness series…”
-Rob Clough, High Low Blog [FULL Review]