The creator of House embarks on a life-spanning epic.
Hot on the heels of his first graphic novel, House, Josh Simmons' Jessica Farm fuses serialized adventure, fantasy and psychological horror and stamps it with his signature macabre sensibility in this atmospheric new graphic novel. Like a Lynchian take on Alice in Wonderland, Jessica Farm opens with an exterior of what could be any Midwestern farmhouse. Once inside, we track our titular heroine as she bounds out of bed on Christmas and goes about her morning routine, eventually breakfasting with her grandparents. The banality of the situation is subverted by a ratcheting sense of dread, however, as we discover that Jessica's increasingly nightmarish house is filled with creatures around every corner: some whimsical, some sexual, some despairing and some malevolent. Most terrifying of all is Jessica's father, whose promise of presents under the tree is loaded with the threat of violence. As in Simmons' debut graphic novel, House, a large portion of the tension in this book is generated not only by the sudden acts of brutality and the fear of the unknown, but by the dynamics of Jessica's relationships.
Jessica Farm is an ambitious experiment in world-building as conceived by Simmons. This book is the first volume of a life-spanning comics project in which he drew one page every month for the past seven years, starting in January 2000—and will continue this project for 50 years in total, making up the story as he goes and releasing 96-page increments every 8 years until he amasses a 600-page body of work.
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Josh Simmons currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, although he tends to move a lot.From Publishers Weekly:
Simmons's eerily bizarre sophomore graphic novel about a teen-aged girl who lives on a farm represents the first installment of an extremely ambitious life-spanning project: Simmons plans to create a singe page per month for the next 50 years. The mammoth story begins simply enough when the titular character wakes up on Christmas morning. She proceeds to talk to her monkey friend, shower with a miniature lounge band performing in her soap dish and get abducted by a foul-mouthed vagrant living under the stairs. And then things get weird: menacing monsters float through the hallways and, more startling, her monkey is savagely knifed to death. Despite a mounting number of mysteries, there's only a hint of a plot line, and the story unfolds as a series of weird encounters. The grainy black and white illustrations lend an additional layer of atmospheric disquiet to the stark narrative that includes full nudity, bloody violence and at least one image of grotesque infant mutilation. Despite the fragmented nature of the tale, the unique story is captivating because it is odd in the fullest sense of the word: there's no sign of the ordinary, usual and expected. (May)
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