Cover image for Leaving Richard's Valley
Leaving Richard's Valley
Physical Description:
479 p. ;

On Order

Bob Harkins Branch1Received on 5/3/19



When a group of outcasts have to leave the valley, how will they survive the toxicity of the big city?

Richard is a benevolent but tough leader. He oversees everything that happens in the valley, and everyone loves him for it. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his friends--Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog, and Ellie Squirrel--take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard's strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they've ever known.

Michael DeForge's Leaving Richard's Valley expands from a bizarre hero's quest into something more. As this ragtag group makes their way out of the valley, and then out of the park and into the big city, we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters, and more. DeForge is idiosyncratically funny but also deeply insightful about community, cults of personality, and the condo-ization of cities. These eye-catching and sometimes absurd comics coalesce into a book that questions who our cities are for and how we make community in a capitalist society.

Author Notes

Michael DeForge was born in 1987 and has written eight books including Ant Colony , First Year Healthy , Big Kids , and Sticks Angelica . He has been a celebrity judge for the Midland Buttertart Festival. He is currently on a treadmill.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ignatz-winning cartoonist Deforge (Big Kids) succeeds in creating a weird, witty epic in this, the longest and yet most accessible of his graphic novels. Set in a Toronto where humans and animals (and other creatures, such as a heart shape with legs) have learned to communicate, Deforge follows the odyssey of four animals banished from the valley commune of titular cult leader Richard as they travel to the big city and back again. DeForge's simple, curved figures are the foundation for a rambling narrative revolving around the lives of over two dozen characters. Reminiscent of other funny satirical animal comics such as Walt Kelly's Pogo and Jon Lewis's True Swamp, DeForge's work pokes fun at celebrity culture, nihilistic musical movements, the arbitrary quality of utopian cults of personality, unfettered capitalism, and gentrification. It's also about symbiotic relationships, what people owe to one another, the problematic qualities of love, and how various ethical systems play out. DeForge experiments with narrative and visual approaches, using the constraint of a four-panel grid. The art varies from stick figures to photorealism, and the story employs elements such as musical theater, documentary, and body horror. Incorporating the idiosyncratic visual elements and themes that have made DeForge an underground rising star, this fluid, funny narrative is poised to break out to a wider readership. (Mar.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.