The beautifully bizarre
Billed as the Lost Prequel to Jimbo in Purgatory, Jimbo's Inferno by Gary Panter is as beautiful as it is bizarre. It's a tall, skinny book whose giant, creamy pages are crammed with Panter's chaotic line drawings in tidily arranged square panels. A companion volume to the equally engrossing Jimbo in Purgatory, Inferno sees its intrepid hero he of the flattop haircut and musclebound torso plunging into the vile netherworld of Focky Bocky, a vast gloom-rock mallscape filled with all manner of frightened and frightening creatures. The sheer genius of transforming Dante's vision of hell into a shopping mall allows for plenty of absurdist brilliance, most of which plays out in the hilariously over-the-top incongruity of the dialogue. In one panel, Jimbo turns to his tour guide/parole officer, Valise, and asks, Another river: is it boiling blood? But no, Valise assures him: It's REALLY hot Dr Pepper. Think the archaicism of Dante spliced with the aggression of, say, Pulp Fiction. But in a really pretty, gorgeously put-together volume with a cool cover.