Sunday, 7 February 2016
The Lizard Laughed by Noah van Sciver Review
“Weak men can become fathers, too”
Deadbeat dad Harvey hangs out with another deadbeat dad smoking weed and staring at the rock formations of the New Mexico landscape. His estranged, grown-up son, Nathan, is visiting whom he hasn’t seen since he abandoned him at age 9. Awk-ward!
This is the second Noah van Sciver comic which addresses bad fathers - 1999 has a passing reference to an absent dad - but The Lizard Laughed takes it as its central theme. There’s a quiet tension that builds once father and son meet as you know Nathan probably wants to know why Harvey walked out on him and his mother but he doesn’t broach the subject - at first.
It’s an unpredictable story with a shocking conclusion that walks right up to the edge of melodrama before backing away in time, ending on a more thoughtful, but possibly ominous, note. If there’s a criticism it’s that we don’t get to know Nathan as well as we do Harvey, the latter being a scumbag but a far more rounded character than his offspring. But I think that’s intentional as the comic is meant to be a character portrait of Harvey more than anything.
The Lizard Laughed is another excellent Noah van Sciver comic with a brilliant poetic story and good art throughout - definitely worth reading, comics fans!