Victor Kerlow, a Manhattan-based illustrator whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times,MTV, and many other popular publications and networks, has recently released his Everything Takes Forever comic collection via small publisher favorite, Koyama Press.
Everything Takes Forever is a collection of surreal and humorous comics, all short and illusive. Some of these comics are amusing, while some are translated as a bit more thoughtful; the entire book bleeds of absurdity and surrealism, with Kerlow using his signature ink-and-wash style of illustration to maintain comfort with the reader. That’s something I can definitely admire in Kerlow’s art style and writing after reading this book — while certain setups and comics seem a bit unreal and strange, the art style fits it perfectly, giving the reader a feeling of comfort rather than alienating them from the author’s motives and expression. Not many illustrators can do that, especially with this distinct art method.
And Kerlow’s technique certainly needs to be that pinpoint with comfort when presenting such trippy ideas, such as a human being bearing a taco head that coincidentally orders tacos at a restaurant, and a man who has shrunk in size and is extremely unhappy with his new physical feature due to the fact he can no longer eat sandwiches. The short, “The F Word, Starring Taco Head,” really helped grasp this feeling of ease, as I found myself relating to a man who was punching his taco shelled head away and shouting obscenities over a 12 paneled page. Characters in this compilation can relate with the reader, showing thoughts of normal everyday behavior, yet placing them in odd worlds and situations.
Teetering between realistic ideas and bizarre worlds, Everything Takes Forever seems to revolve a lot around dreams and the act of dreaming. Characters throughout the book constantly flow in and out of a dreamworld, to a point it’s unknown if they are in fact sleeping or not, specifically in the stories “Big Mouth,” “Little Guy,” and “Weird Things, Downstairs.” Hand-in-hand with Kerlow’s illustrations, these strange tales present absurd situational humor and charming displays of nudity and vulgarity.
Everything Takes Forever is the greg display of balance between absurdity and humor without going too far. Here, we see Kerlow with an extremely comfortable style and display of art and satire, not once going too far or over the top with any surreal idea given. While the art isn’t exactly remarkable, it’s charming and useful enough to get its insane message across. Koyama has published another solid release — we could definitely use more comics like these.