The second issue of Peter Milligan’s and Tess Fowler’s Burroughs/Kafka/Horror mash-up, and I’m happy to say it is just as resistant to coherent interpretation and as mind-blowingly confusing as the first issue was. Some recurring themes begin to crop up: questions of identity were already prominent in issue #1 and continue to be important here; in addition the introduction of two new characters, a writer and an artist, makes me think that there might be a self-referential element to the way brain matter as well as memories and concepts get swapped around by the Kid’s ray-gun – possibly this whole comic is an ongoing metaphor about art? or comics in particular? We’ll have to see how things develop.
This second issue is really heavy on the Kafka references (and on Kafka references swiped from Burroughs), so heavy in fact that Die Verwandlung is practically required reading for Kid Lobotomy (but then, it should be required reading for everyone anyway). There are probably tons of references in the graphics, too, but being mostly illiterate in that area, I missed most of those. I do like the graphics, though – they do invite closer scrutiny, and I love the way Fowler makes the panels jumble over and into each other, often completely getting rid of the gutter or replacing it with something black with… orange scratches on it? I’m not sure what it is, but the overall result is certainly fascinating and creates a great visual analogy to our main protagonist’s unhinged state of mind.
In short, this comic continues to be oodles of fun, and while I’m still at a loss as to what it’s actually about, trying to figure that out has been hugely enjoyable so far.