cover image Schmuck


Seth Kushner, Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, et al. Alternative, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-934460-84-9

Photographer Kushner, who died earlier in 2015, was known in comics for his portraits of comics creators, but was self-publishing and still establishing himself as a writer at the time of his death. This self-deprecating autobiographical debut, which is technically about a stand-in named Adam Kessler, examines his desperate search for love through his 20s, exhibiting an honest vulnerability amid a crude male culture. Though it begins with bar mitzvah cheats and nightmare diarrhea stories, most of the book is devoted to romantic frustrations, doomed flirtations, and confused heartache stemming from loneliness. It costars a parade of women and gives honest indictments of the author’s behavior toward them, including awkward sexual encounters. The stories are abetted by some great cartooning talent, including Nick Bertozzi, Josh Neufeld, and Noah Van Scriver, the differing tones building Adam’s experience into a multifaceted one. Given Kushner’s untimely death, reading this posthumous collection through to its hopeful conclusion is a bittersweet experience. (Sept.)