The House that Groaned – Karrie Fransman

This is an eccentrically artistic work by cartoonist Karrie Fransman, very different from mainstream graphic novels.

It concerns the residents of a converted Victorian property whose very human struggles are only one step removed from our own. The whole piece is a voyeuristic soap opera as we get to curtain-twitch to our heart’s content at these weird neighbours. Some of them have literal struggles we can empathise with and some are abstracted to the point of metaphor, but strangely enough this does not break the narrative.

It is definitely for grownups and not just for the nudity and the grotesque themes. This isn’t a work of escapist entertainment but a catalyst to get your emotions ruminating on the failures of the human condition. You definitely need to be in the mood for it and it is probably something you are better off borrowing than purchasing as it won’t be something you will sit down to read often.

It is definitely drawn by a cartoonist embracing caricature rather than realism and shares traits with other comparable illustrators like Seth. The lines are always curving and freehand even when they are meant to be straight and this adds a wonderfully humanising filter to everything. The colours are black, white and teal in various shades and this extraordinary palette imparts a sense of claustrophobia and insecurity.

It is no surprise why it won so much praise. Double Thumbs Up!!

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