You might remember my post some time back about Michael Zulli’s masterwork graphic novel Fracture of the Universal Boy. The part of my earlier post that’s been circulating as promo for the fundraiser (via Bleeding Cool) is this:
What Michael Zulli has crafted with his masterpiece The Fracture of the Universal Boy is- and I say this without the slightest hesitation- more aligned with Symbolist literature such as Joris-Karl Huysman‘s 1891 novel Le Bas (“Down There” or “The Damned”) than anything else I can think of. The poet Stéphane Mallarmé articulated the scope of the term Symbolism, stating “Suggestion, that is the dream”, and the dream/awake//surreal/hyper-real elements that make up The Fracture of the Universal Boy have absolutely NOTHING to do with anything I’ve ever seen happen in comics.
I don’t know yet how to sum it up in a brief passage, but the random fragments in my head are this:
(1) People- “comic readers” especially- will generally hate this book. Angel raping? Check. Drug fiends under the swamp water? Check. False “happy” endings, and eviscerated eye sockets? Oh, yes… Seriously, it’s commercial suicide.
(2) Like Schiller said (and Klimt repeated), it is the artist’s duty to RAISE and EXPAND the consciousness of the public, not to feed them whatever smooth flavors they order. See #1.
(3) This is not an easy read. It’s harsh, melodramatic, overbearing, passionate… and captures in crystalline fashion EXACTLY the experiences of the artist- saying everything, while revealing nothing. In short- this is, by definition, a perfect piece of ART. Its sentiments are literally timeless, but it could only have been created today. Its message would be equally as potent in 1810, 1910, 2010, and 2110.
Zulli has done a rare thing, which is brought the elements that made Symbolism an important movement, and found a way to make it relevant and contemporary. Even if you feel the Pre-Raphaelite leanings of his commercial stories with Neil Gaiman are too saccharin, if you are honest with yourself when you read The Fracture of the Universal Boy you will be forced to admit that in this book the ink brush has cut completely past the velvet, through the twitching muscle, cracked the bone, and gone down to the very marrow of the artist-
And THAT is a RARE and PRECIOUS thing.
I’m happy to report that Michael has renewed interest in releasing the book!!! Century Guild (Olympian Publishing) is not affiliated with the new edition, however Ryan Graff is an elegant and tasteful man and he has started a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production via his Eiodolon Fine Arts. I maintain that this is a brilliant volume that will NOT disappoint. $45 for a quality book- and I would feel very confident that Misters Graff and Zulli will be top-notch on this front- is a small price to pay for the physical thing, and when you take into account the METAphysical… the resultant volume is priceless.
Spend $45, your soul (and I!) will thank you: