Kevin Huizenga is one of my 3 favorite makers of comics these days. His methods mix accessible pictures, science, philosophy, history, and autobiography all together in a form much like David (Reality Hunger) Shields describes here:
The lyric essay asks what happens when an essay begins to behave less like an essay and more like a poem. What happens when an essayist starts imagining things, making things up, filling in blank spaces, or leaving the blanks blank? What happens when statistics, reportage, and observation in an essay are abandoned for image, emotion, expressive transformation? There are now questions being asked of facts that were never asked before. What, we ask, is a fact these days? What’s a lie, for that matter? What constitutes an “essay,” a “story,” a “poem”? What, even, is “experience”? For years writers have been responding to this slippage of facts in a variety of ways–from the fragmentary forms of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry that try to mimic this loss to the narrative-driven attempts by novelists and memoirists to smooth over the gaps. The lyric essay, on the other hand, inherits from the principal strands of nonfiction the makings of its own hybrid version of the form. It takes the subjectivity of the personal essay and the objectivity of the public essay and conflates them into a literary form that relies on both art and fact, on imagination and observation, rumination and argumentation, human faith and human perception.
Huizenga augments his story-telling by using an alter ego, Glenn Ganges, as a stand-in for himself. Glenn’s life has been unfolding over the course of Huizenga’s stories the past few years, but rather than getting a grand narrative, we’re seeing a disparate set of moments in his mind. Whether Glenn “is” Huizenga matters not very much at all, he’s just there to give us a way in. And yet, because we have such a need for closure (to see parts of things as a whole) we form a real attachment to Huizenga’s characters, whether or not we think they represent the real person or and despite our doubts about it. (In fact, they might not even all be the same Glenn Ganges, but that’s another story.)
So … maybe you find this interesting and maybe you should sample Mr. Huizenga’s work. There’s a great example online at What Things Do. Check it out.