Drawn from life

John Dermot Woods' collection of comics, Activities (Publishing Genius, 2013), showcases a storyteller as compactly disorienting as Amy Hempel and a comic artist as visually astute as Dylan Horrocks. In this slender volume, Woods, A&S '02 (MS), explores relationship anomie through a backyard rocket ship ("Try to Sleep") and the inherent chasm separating children's and adults' realities through a tale of a father and daughter searching for animal bones ("The Remains"). It's a quietly impressive collection, not only for Woods' thematic range but his ambition. In addition to using multiple drawing styles, four stories collage texts from different sources—a Dada manifesto, a Rod McKuen poem, a personal text message, etc.—into speculative fictions of disarming poignancy.

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