Comic Review: The Complete Strange Growths 1991-1997

The stories in Strange Growths are poetic, quiet and well observed. Zervakis features dreams and poems and nature, cats and birds and trees. Friends, family, and co-workers are the stars. These are true stories, for the most part, with the occasional flight of fancy, usually in the form of a dream. Death, in the form of rot or decay, is never far away.

Zervakis’ style reminds me of Lynda Barry, Harvey Pekar at his most reflective and least abrasive, and John “King- Cat” Porcellino (who published this collection through his Spit and A Half distro). Or perhaps it’s more fitting to say Porcellino reminds me of Zervakis. There’s a shared aesthetic between the two creators. They have both obviously learned from each other.

In an interview with Zervakis conducted by Porcellino at the back of the book, Zervakis reveals the thinking behind the title Strange Growths: “It definitely has a deeper meaning to me, that one’s inner growth is the consequence of all the purposeful, winding, or accidental experiences and interactions one has had over time.”

There’s something elusive about these comics, something impossible to pin down. Sometimes they are hazy, foggy. Like a dream, they resist definition. No doubt Strange Growths would reward repeated readings. Zervakis’ style is much like nature itself: humming, buzzing, pulsing with life. (A.G. Pasquella)


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