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For some reason I can't find the link to Hilary Goldstein's review on IGN.com, so I'll post the text here:
Can't Get No GN Review
A strange, but beautiful journey that takes us beyond 9/11.
by Hilary Goldstein
June 15, 2006 - Nearly five years after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, few comics have come out dealing with the emotional impact on the American psyche. With Can't Get No, Rick Veitch examines the destruction of the WTC in a unique, lyrical graphic novel unlike anything I have ever read. At times whimsical, Veitch crafts a story that marries the bizarre with the ordinary and tragedy with beauty.
To say that Veitch's story is solely centered around the events of 9/11 would be misleading. In fact, it is perfectly placed in the midst of a very different story, one that could easily exist without the WTC attack. Many people were embroiled in their own strange stories before the morning of September 11, and once the Twin Towers fell, those stories shifted focus, their likely outcomes sometimes drastically changed. Chad Roe's story is no different.
Days before the eleventh, Chad Roe was in a bad place. His company, which had created the first truly permanent marker, was being sued by the city for a rash of new indelible graffiti. His stocks worthless, his company in dire straits and his wife absorbed in online chat romances, Chad was certain it could not get worse. Following a bender with a pair of disreputable women, he awoke to discover that, indeed, things can always get worse. A victim of his own product, Roe was covered, head-to-toe in marker tattoos that could not be washed away.
There are moments in Can't Get No, particularly early on, that are reminiscent of Alfred Bester's classic science fiction novel, Stars My Destination, which also features the main character unwillingly tattooed. This serious businessman is now a joke. How can he save his company or his marriage covered in tribal designs?
It is in the midst of this drama that two planes strike the World Trade Center. Veitch delivers powerful imagery throughout Can't Get No, but it is most striking in the moments immediately following the attack. This is raw, honest, powerful storytelling.
The second half of Can't Get No follows Roe on a journey into the heartland, where he stumbles upon a world seemingly unaware of the tragedy in New York. Veitch slathers the final half of the novel with social commentary, which some may find difficult to match with the
events of 9/11. It is fascinating, especially if you can reconcile the drastic cultural shift as Roe gets further from New York and, by the
same token, further from himself.
There is no dialogue in Can't Get No. There is no concrete written narrative. The entire postcard-sized book is a poem. It rarely speaks directly to any single panel, but evokes emotions similar (and sometimes contrary) to the images on the page. The lyrical nature of
Veitch's storytelling creates a mesmerizing graphic poetry. While you can choose to focus and analyze Veitch's word choice or the deeper meaning in his poetry, it is more effective to allow the words to simply wash over you. As the pages turn, the conscious act of reading each caption box disappears and the words become a distant song playing
in the background. It's somewhat like reading a book while playing a CD and having the music subconsciously emerging in the emotional context of the novel.
Can't Get No is not for everyone. Certainly those who need comics to follow tried-and-true storytelling methods will have difficulties enjoying Veitch's work. Though the poetic narrative might sound off-putting, Veitch does what many indie creators fail to do. He wraps his surrealism in a fairly traditional story structure. Though it may not perfectly follow the Joseph Campbell model of storytelling, you can wipe away the poetry and silently follow the images without the slightest bit of confusion. The words, however, add to the emotional impact.
Though Vertigo has always offered inspired and intelligent books, it has rarely published a book that takes as many chances as Can't Get No. It could easily have failed, but Veitch makes it work. This is one of the best graphic novels Vertigo has ever published
Rating: Must Read