The End of the Fucking World was originally a 16 part minicomic series created by Charles Forsman, owner of the small press company known as Oily Comics. The minis were sold at $1 a pop and quickly rose to the top of many lists in 2012, creating huge buzz over blogs as one of the best comics of the year, according to The Comics Journal and Comic Book Resources. Fantagraphics did a great deed for collecting these minis into one softcover book for all who couldn’t find a physical copy.
This year, the series is nominated for an Ignatz award in the “Outstanding Minicomic,” category, specifically for it’s 16th issue. I’m a bit late to the scene with this breathtaking title from Chuck Forsman, but damn do I feel like The End of the Fucking World will be talked about for an extensive amount of time. Forsman has illustrated a seriously dark comic in which two angst-filled teenagers are doing terrible things. If you want a glipse of how dark this comic is, just take a look at that bold statement that is the title of the book and stare at the intense tint of red on the cover. This kind of story is a void of comic book I don’t see often.
TEotFW revolves around two teens, named James and Alyssa, going on a road trip away from their parents and venturing into an awful journey of nothingness. Each chapter is told from a different perspective, with James and Alyssa alternating points of view between each part of the story. We’ll get a look at James’ view on Alyssa and his personal upbringing, while Alyssa will show readers how much she blindingly falls for James.
Through each chapter, we find James giving off more and more confirmation that he’s a young sociopath who is aiding in ruining Alyssa’s young life. His chapter starts off detailing his first affair with murdering animals at the age of 13, punching his father out and stealing his car at 17, and within a few more chapters, venturing further into sociopathic nature, revealing his troubling thoughts and murderous urges he tries restraining.
Alyssa’s views of the world are about the same as James, except more angst filled and less of an evident disorder. It could be Alyssa’s combination of young love with James, as well as James’ influence on her to accept doing horrible things in her life. She’s masked with fear throughout the book, while James is comfortable, knowledgable there’s something wrong with his way of thinking, yet never comprehending what exactly he is yearning to feel for.
All the adults featured in the book seem to represent an aggressive force of authority for the kids to run from and attempt to exploit. They break into a professor’s house who is on vacation and live together for a bit, experiencing what their lives could be if they could sustain a place with each other. The plot gathers momentum as the professor comes home early and James slits the man’s throat, showing Alyssa proof of him being a Satanist and a terrible person — more terrible than James may think he is, which is reason it was justifiable to actually murder in both of the kids’ eyes.
It is then that the story becomes deeper than what’s revealed on the angsty teenage surface. It’s a story that explores psychopathy. It explores teenage rebellion against authority and a need for love and understanding. The dark, simplistic style of drawing from Charles Forsman is that of Charles Schulz, injected with a syringe of inpurity. The creepy illustrations and the quickly escalated momentum of problems in The End Of The Fucking World is absolutely insane. It’s gritty and clearly conveyed as crazy. The discomforting, disturbing story is a unique comic book nothing short of fantastic.