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The Three Paradoxes

Details for this: Book
Author: Paul Hornschemeier
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 80
Dimensions: 6.5" x 8.5"
Colors: full-color
Year: 2007
Publisher: Fantagraphics
ISBN-10: 1-56097-653-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-56097-653-0
Additional Details: Digital edition available from comiXology

Price: $16.99


The Three Paradoxes is an intricate and complex autobiographical comic by one of the most talented and innovative young cartoonists today. The story begins with a story inside the story: the cartoon character Paul Hornschemeier is trying to finish a story called "Paul and the Magic Pencil." Paul has been granted a magical implement, a pencil, and is trying to figure out what exactly it can do. He isn't coming up with much, but then we zoom out of this story to the creator, Paul, whose father is about to go on a walk to turn off the lights in his law office in the center of the small town. Abandoning the comic strip temporarily, Paul leaves with his camera, in order to fulfill a promise to his girlfriend that he would take pictures of the places that affected him as a child. Each "chapter" of the story is drawn in a completely different style, with strikingly unique production and color themes, and yet, somehow, despite (or perhaps because of) this non-linear progression, it all comes together as one story: a story questioning change, progress, and worth within the author's life.

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"A talent to watch." – Publishers Weekly

"Hornschemeier wields that rare gift of layered subtlety. Be it an almost imperceptible change in facial expressions or the slow death of a flower, he says significant, moving things in a few panels that would take pages to convey in a novel." – School Library Journal

"Veering from quiet drama to clever comedy, Paradoxes blends autobiography, ancient history and metatextual commentary... [Hornschemeier] leaps into an elite group of current cartoonists — including Kyle Baker and Chris Ware — whose versatility and verve push the art form into exciting new territory... Hornschemeier doesn't simply push the panel edges of the comics medium; he designs entirely off the page, encouraging other creators to join him over the horizon." – Chicago Tribune

"Stunning... To breathe even a lungful of fresh air into the autobiographical comics genre is a challenge, but Hornschemeier succeeds. Although the mysterious pull of a place and its stories is never fully explained, the book is made stronger and more memorable by his elliptical approach." – The Guardian

Best Comics of 2007, New York Magazine

"The follow-up to Hornschemeier's sublime 2004 graphic novella Mother, Come Home was my most anticipated comic of 2007, and it did not disappoint... it's suffused with such winning humor, humility, and self-examination that the whole business wonderfully comes off humane and accessible. Three Paradoxes is the funny-book equivalent of melancholy pop like the Shins, and it affirms Hornschemeier's budding rep as a cartoonist/auteur on par with Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware." – "The Best Comics of 2007," Entertainment Weekly

"Showcasing Paul's continuously improving artwork, with a story that has both humor and meaning." – Jeffrey Brown in The Daily Cross Hatch

Links to Reviews and Features

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