Jessica Farm
By Josh Simmons
Self-Published by Josh Simmons

Between the recent anthology of drawings called Pussies that Simmons edited, and his mini-comic series All About Fuckin', I had kind of forgotten that Simmons was the same creator who turned out the more narratively challenging, interesting and promising Happy #1 a few years ago. Happy was a series I gradually lost interest in, as it focused in its later issues on circus stories that, in fairness, some people whose taste I respect found to be Simmons's most interesting material.

The graphic approach to Jessica Farm recalls Simmons's Happy #1, with a more controlled Simmons ably enlisting his bold, dramatic linework to tell his story. And it's his best, most interesting work to date.

Jessica, who lives on a farm, awakens on Christmas morning. Her father, a figure of no small dread (and in Mickey Mouses's gloves), tells her to come downstairs and see her presents. Instead, the girl takes a shower and thus begins a surreal journey through the hidden corners of her house, a strange place filled with dark, spiral staircases and secret lovers.

Simmons is generous with the depictions of the weird places and people Jessica encounters, and the reader is never clued in as to whether this is all really happening or is, perhaps, a psychological retreat from a homelife too horrible to be dealt with in reality. Ultimately it's hard to say Jessica Farm is "fun," but it is fascinating, and the art is extraordinary. Grade: 4.5/5

-- Alan David Doane

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