Charles Forsman’s recently concluded 16-part miniseries The End of the F**king World (or TEOTFW in Fantagraphics’s upcoming bookstore-friendly collection) is a rare bird, especially in today’s near-completely Balkanized comic book market; a genuine crowd pleaser. I’ve worked in comic book shops since before I started high school, and what pains me the most consistently about the otherwise delightful years I’ve put in is how little comics communicates with itself. The way so many comic book readers retrace their footsteps every Wednesday to the same superhero comics they bought last week, or the same mini comics they bought last week, or the same “indie” comics, or whatever is most familiar. As a fan of comics the medium more than any one set of stylistic gestures, I always just wish that everyone would reach across the aisles and try a little bit of everything. Of course, the reading public is hardly to blame for walking around in the blinders clapped on by an industry more comfortable with rehashing the stories that played five years ago or cannibalizing the signifiers of so-called “nerd culture” than creating books that honestly appeal to a wide group of people.
For the past year and change, though, TEOTFW did exactly what I wish every comic had the ability to do: grabbed anyone who took a look and forced them into a deeply compelling story much easier to stay inside of than leave.