a-frozen-worldIt’s easy to be skeptical of a self-published, sketchy looking comic about a dystopian society and its heavy-hearted inhabitants. It’s easy to write it off—and I nearly did. How many near-identical dystopias have we dystopia fans sat through over the years? Thankfully, A Frozen World is an earnest and raw approach to the genre, and worth a look.

Nick Andors’s very adult visions of a world of concrete and death owe much to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (among others) with a good dose of M.C. Escher-esque disorientation. His plentiful ultraviolent moments—machetes through heads and fetuses ripped from saggy-breasted womens’ wombs—surely owe something to previous dystopian visions as well. But they certainly say (as most dystopian tales do) something true about the depths and darkness of the human spirit. A man idly stealing cigarettes from a dismembered corpse’s hand, a geezer sitting down to soup with his wife’s skeleton, a girl raised in a hellish home with a drug-addled mother and a deeply violent father who grows up to become a ruthless assassin with outsized afro-puffs—they are all strangely compelling characters with more than a bit of truth to them. And the grossness is palatable, too. Perhaps it’s the roughness of the illustrations or perhaps it’s their moments of chilling accuracy. Regardless, the effect is haunting.

Of course, self-published and one-off as it is, it’s not perfect. The pacing can be rough, slow, and halting. And the attempt to manufacture a resolution at the end, summing up a comic that more or less speaks for itself, is pretty forgettable. To be excellent it would have needed that extra bit of world-building and contextualization to give this brutal dystopia meaning. But it’s a noble effort with plenty to haunt your dreams, which is certainly nothing to scoff at.

A Frozen World
by Nick Andors
ISBN: 9780989531214
Eyekon Publishing, 2013

  • Emilia Packard

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Emilia has been reading graphic novels rabidly since her best friend handed her Craig Thompson’s Blankets over winter break during her sophomore year of college. From that day, her fate was sealed — at Grinnell College, she created, edited and drew strips for a student comics magazine called The Sequence. As an MLS Student at the University of Illinois, she spent way too much time filling up her backpack (and her roommate’s backpack) with the treasures of the Undergrad Library’s comics collection — never less than 40 books at a time. Just in the past few years, she’s worked at libraries and archives in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Indiana, and Austin, Texas and consumed their graphic novels collections with great gusto. She has been drawing her stick-figure avatar, Flippy-Do, since she was about 10 years old.

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