Gosh! Best Of 2022
Nick Drnaso returns with his recognisable brand of eerie mundanity with Acting Class! His follow up to 2018s Sabrina, we follow a group of seemingly disparate people, lonely and lost in life, who join an evening acting class run by the affable (but unsettling) John Smith. The lines between their real and acted lives begin to blur, leaving you to question, what was even real in the first place? Does it even matter? If you’ve read any of Drnaso’s previous works then no doubt you already know you’ll be picking up Acting Class. There’s no one else making comics quite like him , his flat, muted artwork and layouts are reminiscent of a mix of Chris Ware and the sort of Microsoft Paint art project you’d take home on a floppy disk after school. There’s a creeping dread lying under each panel, and there’s not another book out this year that will so adeptly make you squirm and laugh at the same time.
From the acclaimed author of Sabrina, Nick Drnaso’s Acting Class creates a tapestry of disconnect, distrust, and manipulation. Ten strangers are brought together under the tutelage of John Smith, a mysterious and morally questionable leader. The group of social misfits and restless searchers have one thing in common: they are out of step with their surroundings and desperate for change.
A husband and wife, four years into their marriage and simmering in boredom. A single mother, her young son showing disturbing signs of mental instability. A peculiar woman with few if any friends and only her menial job keeping her grounded. A figure model, comfortable in his body and ready for a creative challenge. A worried grandmother and her adult granddaughter; a hulking laborer and gym nut; a physical therapist; an ex-con.
With thrumming unease, the class sinks deeper into their lessons as the process demands increasing devotion. When the line between real life and imagination begins to blur, the group’s deepest fears and desires are laid bare. Exploring the tension between who we are and how we present, Drnaso cracks open his characters’ masks and takes us through an unsettling American journey.