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Hall of Best Knowledge

Ray Fenwick

by


Hall of Best Knowledge
Ray Fenwick
Fantagraphics
When Ray Fenwick's Hall of Best Knowledge ran in the back pages of this paper, it was simply a beautifully constructed, amusing, obsessive typographical comic. But as you enter the Hall in book form and wander through its dense corridors, there's more depth and narrative than a weekly serialized comic provides: akin to watching an entire HBO series box-set in one go. The Hall of Best Knowledge is run anonymously by "The Author," a boorish, self-proclaimed genius. He's the know-it-all to avoid at parties, who laughs uncontrollably when you don't know what epistemology is, thinks "play is worthless" and that riding ponies is ridiculous (there are no pony-riding geniuses). And yet he's vulnerable. After he stands uninvited in the rain outside a restaurant watching his friends eat dinner, he becomes defensive, "I was on my, was on my way somewhere anyways, so it's hardly worth the discussion." The Author is at his most pitiful when he falls for his brother's tricks, such as a fake offer of professorship; it's this same brother who blows the whole thing open at the end and reveals a secret too hilarious to spoil. Fenwick evokes emotions with hand-drawn lines, patterns and text. Genius. The Hall launches Wednesday at Eyelevel Gallery, 2063 Gottingen, 7pm.
Sue Carter Flinn
type: graphic novel

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