While I've been fartin' around doing promotional crap for my corporate mass-market glossy coffee table book Weird Kentucky, our very own Transylvania Gentleman J. Todd Dockery has quietly published a real literary masterwork, one that will stand the test of time and be spoken of reverently in hushed tones of awe long after mine is clogging up the budget bins in a few weeks. Don't buy my book, buy Doc's. Seriously.
The casual reader may find Dockery's graphic novel In Tongues Illustrated to be impenetrable at first - dense, stream of consciousness, disorienting, with its tangled plotlines, erratically recurring characters, and non-linear story arc fucking back in on itself. This initial reaction is common when viewing scathing white-hot truths such as those contained in Dockery's comics. Rest assured, this anxiety will pass, and in time you'll gradually come to understand the precepts of Dockerythink.
So what's it about? Well, see, there's chain-smoking tie-wearing Jack Lustmord, a film-noir-ish protagonist (who coincidentally resembles Dockery himself) and the voluptuous object of his obsessive nocht-mares, the mysterious Mona, who seemingly represents multiple women, as she continually shape-shifts. But is the shape-shifting an allegory for female unpredictability, or is it a metaphor for the way men repeatedly rotate and change the images in their mind just before consummating self-love in the restroom of a Flying J truck stop? Both, maybe?
Then there's a wormy nebbish of a private investigator, who goes by the surrealist monicker of "Mask or Machine?" who's just lookin' for clues at the scene of the crime, seemingly inside the David Lynch landscape inside Lustmord's skull. And what he finds will astound you and change your life forever. (Okay, maybe it won't, because you might be stupid.)
Dockery's intensely crosshatched uber-detailed style conjures up many likely-seeming influences, like Robert Crumb, Basil Wolverton, Gary Panter, Daniel Clowes, and Joe Coleman, but the fact is, what emits from his skull is 107 percent unique, and can't be sullied by the critic's crutch of comparison.
Go, and seek ye a copy of In Tongues Illustrated, and tell 'em Harry Stephen Keeler sent ya.
- - JSH