Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: Henry & Glenn Forever, by Igloo Tornado

What is Henry & Glenn Forever? If, like me, you've been living under a rock since 2010, you might need an introduction. The one from the book itself ought to do:

Henry [Rollins] and Glenn [Danzig] are very good "friends."
They are also "room mates."
Daryl [Hall] and John [Oates] live next door.
They are satanists.

That's all you need to know.

Sounds like the set-up for an in-your-face, sure-to-offend exercise in excess, right? Well, think again, because the best adjective I can come up with for H+G=4EVA (apart from "hilarious") is "charming." In casting these hard rock/metal icons as gay lovers, the cartoonists of Igloo Tornado (a collective consisting of Tom Neely, Gin Stevens, Scot Nobles, and Levon Jihania) chose--wisely--to focus not on stereotypical "gay" tropes but, instead, to focus on the idea of "lovers." Thus, for example, we get several pages from Glenn's diary filled with his feelings of insecurity about his relationship with Henry:
i yelled at Henry the other day because he never does the dishes and i always end up being the one who cleans up after him. i wanna help him because he's so busy getting ready for his tour, but i'm so overwhelmed...
It's not all sadness and regret, however. The book is comprised of one-page comics and drawings, from diary entries and postcards, to single-panel gag cartoons, to repetitive headshots of the couple, with Henry saying something enigmatic and Glenn always--always--agreeing with him. My favorite comic, perhaps, consists of a conversation about painting the bathroom black: Glenn is brushing his teeth, and Henry's taking a bubble bath. Sheer domesticity. There are also running gags about Glenn's fixation with werewolves, and about the couple's missing dog that Seussian satanists Daryl & John may or may not know something about.

Silly, simple and a bit surreal, but never really exploitative, Henry & Glenn Forever nevertheless manages to convey more genuine emotion than many other "serious" graphic novels I've read. But it also includes a scene with all four main characters jamming to "Kiss On My List." Sublime, meet ridiculous.

Henry & Glenn Forever
by Igloo Tornado
Cantankerous Titles, 2010
ISBN-10: 1934620939
ISBN-13: 978-1934620939
64 pages, $6.00