Written and Art by Noah Van Sciver Hardback
Van Sciver tends to work in a vein of anxiety, pumping up the tension like he’s inflating a bicycle tire beyond its recommended PSI. Disquiet contains 14 stories, more or less, with single-page non-narrative drawings woven between them, done in a more painterly style, in colour, and often taken from album covers, movies or found images. The reason I say more or less is that entry “Dive Into That Black River,” which kicks things off, is a two-page spread that reads as a panel-less and almost narrative-less story. A man drifts through a terrible dark space, menaced by skeletons and demons. Then it ends. It’s more a statement to frame the book—there is scary shit out there in the world, whether produced by your own mind or not—than a “story,” per se.
But Disquiet isn’t unrelenting in its quest to make you uncomfortable. Those interstitial illustrations exist as breathers, but you will also find silliness (“Punks V. Lizards”) and a fairy tale (“The Cow’s Head”). Even in those reprieves, however, characters cock their heads in mental pain and indecision, torn between alternatives, brows furrowed.