A review of Eden by Pablo Holmberg

Published on October 5, 2010

Pablo Holmberg

Drawn and Quarterly

If you accused Pablo Holmberg of being sentimental, I don’t think he’d mind. His first book, Eden, brings together more than 100 four-panel comic strips set in a mythic, medieval land where a rabbit-like creature walks around wearing a crown and a Santa-esque robe. The content of these short forays into Eden‘s universe are unapologetically optimistic and syrupy. In one strip, for example, a man sits on the ground leaning against a tree and asks the moon, “Tell me, moon, was there ever a love like mine?,” but in the next panel protests, “But moon, do not nod. I could never believe you anyway.” The collection also has some funnier moments, such as when the rabbit king refers to horseflies as the “birds of hell” after being bitten, or when he catches and cooks some fish that were calling him names.

Holmberg is an Argentinian cartoonist who goes by the name Kioskerman in South America, where he writes and draws for various publications. Eden started out as webcomic that he self-published in Spanish on his website. The illustrations are pretty straightforward, employing simple shapes, hatching, and solid colours. They’re exactly what one would expect to find in the comics section of the weekend newspaper. Natural, outdoor settings are emphasized and meditative musings that attempt to strike an emotional chord are largely the focus.

Whimsical and filled with emotional yearning, this comic’s overly romantic mini-plots might win over a Sunday comics crowd, but likely won’t strike a chord with a comic book audience. His mushy tales are similar to Bil Keane’s The Family Circus and his use of mythic imagery is an obvious nod to Charles Addams. Eden uneasily straddles the divide between warm-hearted cliché and dark-gothic fantasy. The collection could be improved by either being more sentimental or darker, but, as is, fails to measure up to either genre. mRb

Lori Callaghan is an arts critic in Montreal whose work has been published in the Montreal Gazette and The Rover.



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