As a preamble to anything that will follow, I need to say that I got a copy of this book from its publisher, Milk Shadow Books, for winning a selfie contest. And that’s fucking awesome.

Jase Harper’s new book Awkwood is something I’d wanted for a while. I saw posters with the cover plastered around parts of town I frequent, in my favourite burrito joint, and also all up my Facebook feed. My expectations were pretty high, given that they’d published my favourite non-Batman comic book ever (Tim Molloy’s insane and insanely good Mr Unpronouncable Adventures), but I didn’t know much about what the book would be about.

So what is it about? A dude named Liam who’s stuck in a dead end job, living with a deadbeat flatmate. Not achieving anything like what he’d want in life, which is to make music. The story begins when he visits the Awkwood, a Rehabilitation and Shamanic Cure All Centre, to deal with whatever is in him that’s holding him back.  The cure is in the form of the extract of the Awkwood plant, which induces some sort of psychodelic trip into one’s past.  I’ll leave the story there because I worry I’d say too much. I might add though that I thought the story charming and funny, and I may have read the whole thing in one sitting.. twice.

Harper’s art is gorgeous. Perhaps some might find it a bit too ‘cartoony’ but it lends the necessary charm to the story. In part it reminded me a lot of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work in Scott Pilgrim. It was however unashamedly original and cool. The pages sucked me in and told the story wonderfully.

Overall this is a great book, and I look forward to more stuff like this from Jase Harper. You should get a copy from Milk Shadow Books, since the book is new and they might not have it everywhere yet.


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