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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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02/20/2005 Archived Entry: "Comic review: Holy Moly"

Holy Moly
by Leah Hayes
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Review by Tom Good

Imagine finding a student composition book left behind in a library. Inside, there are no class notes, but only page after page of wild drawings. A girl declares her love for steak and eggs, but the steak rejects her, saying, "It's really not a good time for me right now." On the same page, what appears to be a narwhal bullies a snail. If I found something like this, I would want to return it to its owner, but I also would not be able to resist reading the rest of it first.

Holy Moly resembles such a lost artifact, right down to the blue-lined paper on which it is drawn. It even has a hand-drawn bar code on the front cover. I doubt this would actually scan, but it is an amusing touch. The art is crudely drawn, as one might expect from doodles in a notebook; in fact, according to the publisher the book was "written and illustrated almost entirely during class time over several years."

The book is not so much a story as it is a collection of images and cryptic phrases. This gives the work the feel of a partially-overhead conversation. Readers certainly could imagine a story based on this material, but the original intent is far from clear. Though in many books this would be a deficiency, here it works, because it just makes the "found notebook" seem more mysterious. A quick read, Holy Moly might be a good complement to an afternoon cup of coffee.

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