Following a succession of some of the most quirky and outré graphic albums ever conceived, including the ongoing, award-winning RPG-inspired Dungeon Quest series, cartoonist Joe Daly has drawn his most ambitious stand-alone graphic novel yet — the 572 page Highbone Theater. Our protagonist Palmer — wallflower, mystic seeker and paper mill worker — moves into a new apartment with his outwardly self-assured and womanizing friend, Perry, and begins an epic struggle of love, hate, and self preservation. Events take a peculiar turn as Palmer befriends an iconoclastic co-worker, Billy Boy, and plunges head-long into the mysterious and sinister world of sorcery, psychological operations, subterranean organizations, wild goose chases, and self discovery. Palmer is warned that before any semblance of order is restored to his world there will be more chaos and there’s probably nothing he can do about it, but that doesn’t stop him from trying! Joe Daly single handedly conceived his own ruminative slacker genre, and Highbone Theater is its artistic apotheosis, drawn in a style that is a cross between Charles Burns and Herr Seele, told with artist’s patented leisurely rhythms, a hilarious and poignant adventure epic.
“Alternating between bold black-and-white panels and brilliant full-color sequences, Daly deftly navigates between the mundane and the madcap, as Palmer struggles through noisy roommates, ineffectual romance, 9/11 conspiracies, and hallucinogenic adventures. Readers familiar with Daly’s earlier Dungeon Quest series will recognize his unique blend of K-Mart realism with the fantastic. In its more bizarre episodes, this is an exhilarating tale of high adventure. In its more meditative moments, it brims with humor and melancholy.” — Publishers Weekly
“Is it a dream? An alternate universe? The half-thought-out musings of a stoned brain? Whatever it is, the reading experience is immersive, and the pages have an obsessive Michelangelesque beauty. This book needs more love.” — Paste Magazine
“A 572-page epic odyssey into chaos and sinister mystery that begins in the simplicity of two friends deciding to share an apartment … a time-traveling, genre-shifting, waking-dream mashup of mundane and surreal reality.” — KindLand
“Anyone who has enjoyed Charles Burns' X'ed Out trilogy would get a real kick out of this. The main difference is whilst both are as utterly insane the focus here is far more on the humour rather than horror. But in terms of taking the reader on a surreal journey, they are both right out there.” — Page 45
“I wish we could all live in a headspace carved out by comics like this one as opposed to spending time puzzling over our feelings for even the most clever and enduring corporate products. Joe Daly is a treasure.” — The Comics Reporter
“There is nothing Daly does that I wouldn’t look at.” — The Comics Journal
“Imagine, if you will, a very Charles Burnsian narrative in which dream and reality, imagination and perception, delusion and conception, fiction, fantasy and rumination are all inextricably bound together into an irreducible mass. Then imagine it featuring a cast made up of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers reimagined as meathead bodybuilders all rendered in the manner of Burns imitating Fletcher Hanks, with the setting — landscapes and dreamscapes — courtesy of Jim Woodring. Anyone looking to escape their lives and plunge into a fully formed — and completely outrageous — comics universe need look no further.” — Copacetic Comics