Comics Features

REVIEW: Klaxon

Well… ain’t this just the oddest little thing SelfMadeHero have let us take a sneaky peak at! Klaxon has the undeniably odd flavour of being a horror film written by Monty Python. It shares a Gothic atmosphere with Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, but it doesn’t share the sprawling nature of the film. Klaxon is both brief and condensed, light on length and dialogue, and big on page-filling, wordless panels of smoky, grotesque artwork.

Klaxon doesn’t just rub shoulders with Monty Python however, it also bares some similarities with a previous title of SelfMadeHero’s – The Motherless Oven. Both books are set in eerily backward worlds, and tell stories that feel abrupt in their execution. In Klaxon‘s case, this is a world where its inhabitants spend their days getting high off candlewax and cavity wall insulation, and become plagued by milk binges and indoor confectionery storms.

The story of Klaxon itself feels like a rather unsubstantial tale of helpfulness in an otherwise unkind world. Klaxon follows slacker Carlisle who’s empty existence gains sudden meaning when two new neighbours move in next door, Carole and her somewhat deformed mother. His attempts to help them settle into their new home result in the monstrous landlord Mr. Stapleton, along with his slow-thinking slave of a son, taking volatile action against all parties. It’s up to Carlisle to save this extremely weird day!

Without a great amount of dialogue to carry the story along, your attention is drawn to Dix‘s murky, nightmarish artwork. It suits the story very well, and its own sickening appearance gives the novel an enjoyably uncomfortable look. It’s as if Dix has taken an entire sketchbook’s worth of artwork, dipped it into the thickets of swamps, thrown in some mild attempts at colour here and there, and the result is a graphic novel with plenty of twisted humour in its visuals.

Si Spencer
‘s story goes hand in hand with the gruesomeness of Dix’s art, but it’s arguably less impressive. When reading Klaxon for the first time, it’s forgiveable if you feel cheated by the end. There’s conflict and resolution to be found here, but there’s little of anything else. As a reader, we can easily latch onto Carlisle as a character with a decent soul, but when Carlisle is sharing his life with two stereotypical wastes of life, he doesn’t have a great deal of competition. In that sense, Klaxon is a primitive and raw foray into story-telling. Thanks to its weirdness, Klaxon becomes more robust with each reading, with its gluttonous forays into the fantastic seeping deeper and deeper into you after every read.

Klaxon may not reach the heights of previous books by SelfMadeHero. It doesn’t have the hip, emotional breadth of Seconds, the giddy sense of unashamed joy in Ricky Rouse Has a Gun, or the head-spinning awe of the Aama series. However, its bespoke sense of comedy-horror make it a pleasure to read, even if that pleasure has a twisted feel to it.

Have you read Klaxon? Did it make you want to vomit or laugh out loud, or both? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Fred McNamara