Return of the Dapper Men

by John Holbo on February 13, 2011

I like it! The new Jim McCann authered/Janet Lee illustrated graphic … well, it’s too short to be a novel, Return of the Dapper Men [amazon]. Use ‘search inside’ to read the first pages, or view a slightly different selection at the publisher’s site. In the land of Anorev, time has stopped. Living below the surface are children, with no conception of adulthood. Above are machines, with no conception of why they function. (Which makes it sound like some Eloi/Morlock time-machine fable, but that isn’t it at all. Also, how are people doing things if time has ceased? Well, I don’t know. A sort of eternal present. There is only now, no tomorrow, no yesterdays.) Ayden, the boy who asks, and Zoe, the robot-girl who says nothing at all, are friends, and the key. Then time starts again, and 314 Dapper Men descend from the sky, like a Magritte painting. It is all very charming and surreal and doesn’t make any sense, except in an advantages and disadvantages of vermiculation for life, in a space-time worm sort of sense, sense.

As the introduction by Tim “Project Runway” Gunn makes clear, it’s in a fairytale line that includes Alice, The Wizard of Oz, Pinnochio. I would add: Hans Christian Andersen, E.T.A. Hoffman. This bit from Andersen’s “The Ice Queen”, for example, in which Gerda is uselessly interrogating the solipsistic and surreal-minded flowers about where Kay might be: [click to continue…]