Monologues for the coming plague
A playful collection of riffs on contemporary life, politics, language and cartooning itself that slowly builds into something more. While waiting in an airport in New York, after the book tour in 2003, Anders found himself absorbed in a series of one panel gags about a woman feeding a bird, brainstorming captions and watching ideas follow. Taking a cue from the school of Automatic Writing, an aesthetic mode championed by Andre Breton at the beginning of the 19th century that became the foundation of the Surrealist Movement, Nilsen began work on Monologues for the Coming Plague. The process is born out of a stream of consciousness followed by limited editing and rearranging. The book ranges playfully from riffs on the gag cartoon to paranoid soliloquies of a surrealistic apocalypse, with references to contemporary politics, pop culture, and religion, plays on language, and sequential abstractions. Stories intertwine, branch off, dead end and double back. These are experimental, absurdist art comics, but the book is a page-turner, and some of it is laugh-out-loud funny. Reading it is not so much like reading comics as it is watching the artist make connections between ideas, find patterns, and set down the story as it happens.
Published by Fantagraphics in 2006.