The Illustrated Wild Boy:
Reflections on the Presentation of Self
by John Du Cane
$29.95 Hardcover: 136 pages
From the Kalahari desert, to the jungles of Sierra Leone, to Swinging Sixties London to France, to India and beyond, Dragon Door publisher John Du Cane has led a Forrest Gump-like life of encounters with the great, the bizarre, the dangerous and the downright depraved. With a laconic, visceral, image-laden style reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s cryptic lyrics, Du Cane delivers a set of compelling tales that exude a raw passion, a wry sense of humor and some penetrating spiritual insights. Like a Picasso portrait from his Cubist period, these are bits and pieces that put together make up a face. In this case, the multi-faceted face of a complex visionary who helped change the landscape of modern fitness with his launching of the modern kettlebell movement in 2001. Complementing the vivid text are 12 illustrations by the brilliant Hungarian illustrator Judit Tondora and an extraordinary interior design that transforms the book into a work of compelling art. A feast for the eyes and a poetic treasure for the heart and soul…
“An absorbing memoir perfectly complemented by exquisite art.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The surprising blends of autobiography, philosophy, spirituality, and cultural investments in wild times, wild feelings, and different forms of horror and growth are wound into a story of media explorations and artistic investments to create a unique graphic novel-style memoir.
Unlike typical graphic stories, this collection blends a healthy degree of literary writings with colorful visual backgrounds. Where graphic productions typically promote brevity over explorations, John Du Cane centers his adventures firmly in written observations that embrace metaphor and reflection with equal depth and insight.
One lasting legacy of this collection is its unusual ability to juxtapose spirituality, counterculture, and childhood memories. Irony, critical observation, artistic expression, counterculture trends, and social and family influences craft a series of thought-provoking, lively, engrossing short works that are not just about Du Cane’s world, but about how readers interpret these visions and revelations.
It’s rare to find a multifaceted short story collection of vignettes whose tales are equally well rooted in artistic, personal, and social observation.
Hungarian illustrator Judit Tondora’s lovely backgrounds bring Du Cane’s adventures to life. The result is a creative and involving work of art, language, and social inspection that will delight readers looking for literary works strong in spiritual and social revelations. — D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review