Compulsive Comics collects the very best of Eric Haven’s singular brand of inverted-comic book-consciousness and genre-bending short stories. Haven’s comics, at first glance, look like standard genre fiction, but upon closer reflection become as disorienting as a house of mirrors, as layers are peeled back and worlds behind worlds are revealed. Haven undermines the expectations of familiar comic book genres, whether science fiction, western, fantasy, or even autobiography. “The Glacier” is about a lone scientist making a startling discovery in the ice, though quickly becomes a meditation on man’s insignificance in the universe. “Mammology” begins as a wordless comic about the dinosaurs before catapulting forward to the author’s present day apartment, where a secret, ancient war between reptiles and mammals is revealed.
The volume’s most controversial story, “I Killed Dan Clowes” is an epic conflation of autobio and fantasy. While driving around Oakland, ruminating on the history of underground comics in the Bay Area, the main character fatally hits acclaimed graphic novelist Daniel Clowes. From there, the tale careens absurdity, featuring revenge, romance, and a comics-loving god!
Haven’s surrealist, self-reflexive, and superbly rendered comics surprise at every turn and showcase an inherent joy for the comics medium.
"Combining the sky’s-the-limit outrageousness of golden age superhero comics with the hip sensibility of a modern indie cartoonist, these stories are delightful and unlike anything anyone else is producing. Not to be missed." — Library Journal Starred Review
"Humor, horror, and the existential all blend into one, while Haven mixes his own cocktail of pulp and wry self-awareness." — Omnivoracious
"Compulsive Comics is a wonderful bit of weird. I don't think I've come across such an eclectic mix of hilarity and horror and wonderment." — Under the Radar
"Compulsive Comics offers good laughs and vigorous surrealism." — Comics Beat