Zilk is a blast to read. The humor is dry, dark, and surreal. Despite being psychedelic in origin, the characters within the story feel organic and believable. The book feels like a drug trip, with equal parts delight and horror represented.
The story itself, despite being verbose, is quite entertaining. The characters are well developed, especially Zilk, who acts like a british pop star. Zilk had a level of casual cool that surrounded him at all times and reminded me very much of David Bowie.
The visuals are keenly integrated into the entire experience. Sharp, vivid lines, with lots of detail popped out against the abstract and brightly colored, or very dark, backgrounds. The color pallete in particular served as a visual cue to the location of the story, drawing sharp differences between the psychedelic realm of Zilk and the depressing realms of nightmare.
In many ways, the poetic discourse of both the characters and narrator reminds me of Transmetropolitan’s writing, and the art evokes a similar kind of disorienting, overstimulating vibe. The book also reminded me of the surrealism that runs through Tank Girl, as both are worlds where everything deserves to be questioned and never is.
I feel this book is highly selective and has a high learning curve. The book itself teaches you to read it, and so demands a second read to get the full effect. While many times beautiful, the art and color scheme can become overwhelming. A few times I had to stop and reevaluate what was going on in a panel, as the background was just a little too psychedelic.
Some readers might find the story hard to follow and the visuals overwhelming, and, in this way, I feel it might be quite polarizing. You will either love or hate Zaucer of Zilk, but it is definitely worth a read to find out which it is.
I personally found the whole book a fun ride with a dose of humor and a splash of craziness (just how I like my coffee). If you like anything that is a little mindbending, you will enjoy The Zaucer of Zilk.
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