Let us be perfectly clear
Let Us Be Perfectly Clear is a collection of Paul Hornschemeier's full-color short stories and shows off his playful experimental side and his protean stylistic verve. Perfectly Clear brings back into print stories that Hornschemeier published prior to his Three Paradoxes Fantagraphics debut from a variety of sources — his own self-published Forlorn Funnies, as well as strips that originally appeared in independent magazines and papers. The book is designed as a "flip book" in the tradition of the old Ace paperbacks, with one side featuring comedic work (or as comedic as Hornschemeier's mind allows), and the other decidedly more morose. With almost every page, we see a new style, a new direction; with the resultant effect being that of an anthology by creators of vastly contrasting sensibilities. On the "funny" menu, we are treated to Dr. Rodentia (an unfortunate-looking fellow with only apathy as his weapon), a detailed artist's catalogue exploring such modern masterpieces as "Accidental Late-Night Sex With a Radiator," musings on the cancerous nature of civilization as observed by a deceased cat and a cotton-based airbus, the scatological "Feelings Check," the ever pathetic Vanderbilt Millions and his fantasies of self-worth, and the multi-narrative story that started the Forlorn Funnies comics series: "The Men and Women of the Television." Clearly, there is a fine line in the Hornschemeier lexicon between funny and morose. On our "forlorn" plate we are served the cold examination of the dyslexic narcoleptic and his bungled plans of murder, a sea creature's balancing of morality and sustenance, the Western romance "Wanted," a metal man's self-destructive search for meaning, and the story the alternative website Ain't It Cool News describes as delivering "a complicated mixture of disgust and pity." Let Us Be Perfectly Clear demonstrates Paul Hornschemeier's versatility and breadth in an elegantly produced book that will appeal to connoisseurs of contemporary, cutting-edge cartoons and graphic novels.