Read H Day by Renée French Online


Renee French, an acclaimed graphic novelist and Inkpot Award winner at San Diego's Comic-Con International, has entranced legions of fans with her twisted, highly inventive pencil drawings, whose agile lines and delicate shading open up strange imaginary vistas. She's been called an inimitable and masterful stylist, a kind of Edward Gorey who draws out the whimsical side oRenee French, an acclaimed graphic novelist and Inkpot Award winner at San Diego's Comic-Con International, has entranced legions of fans with her twisted, highly inventive pencil drawings, whose agile lines and delicate shading open up strange imaginary vistas. She's been called an inimitable and masterful stylist, a kind of Edward Gorey who draws out the whimsical side of body-horror, and indeed, the spirit of Gorey's grotesques breathes through French's creations. In H Day, her first graphic novel in four years, French explores, through metaphor and in pictures, her struggles with migraine headaches, marshaling troops of insects, beasts and humanoids to envision the processes that result in such hideous sensations. A sweeping, often tense narrative of invasion, repulsion and liberation, H Day can be read both as an oblique autobiography and as a suspenseful fantasy story. This volume makes clear the qualities that led Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season, to call Renee French "that rare gift among artists--one whose work finds its way into the most guarded corners of our psyches and allows us to revel in all that is awkward, embarrassing or sticky about being alive."...

Title : H Day
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780982094709
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 200 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

H Day Reviews

  • Nate D
    2018-12-31 22:46

    Eerie, vague with unease, quietly discomfiting. Unpleasant sensations conveyed with a soft, graceful discomfort. Should probably be stared into for many further hours to more fully absorb its suffusing suffocating feel.

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-01-16 21:20

    A poetic memoir about French's struggles with migraines and argentine ant infestation (yes, you read that right, partner!), with often scary and sort of dark and brooding and at the same time delicate pencil drawings. There are two sorts of stories told in stages of pain and suffering and finally, a modicum of relief. It's not clear and doesn't have to be, I guess, about how the stories actually interact with each other, but in short, they are not fun to go through for her. Stephen King ain't got nothing on French for atmospheric creepiness. Overall, it's a a series of metaphors for how she feels, and I think migraine sufferers in particular might appreciate this a lot. Lots of feelings of dark and isolated confinement, sometimes sort of repulsive. Don't get me wrong: French is a terrific artist, and thinker, original and complicated on various levels.

  • Jamie
    2019-01-12 00:16

    Coming out of any Renee French book is a process. As a reader, you have to re-emerge from her mindscape and slowly find your way back to lucidity. Jump out too fast, and you might get the bends.It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Renee's work. Editing her early career retrospective Marbles in My Underpants was the fuzziest of pet projects for me. That book marked the end of a certain phase of her career, and since then, I've been able to watch and read as a fan as Renee's cartooning has continued to roam into new and unexpected places. H Day reads like a delivery on everything she has done this century. In comparison, books like The Ticking and the oddly delightful Micrographica appear now as if they were bathroom mirrors fogged over by steam, and H Day is the reflection we find waiting for us when the glass is wiped clean.To describe H Day seems kind of pointless. I am only going to make it sound literal, which is wrong and which kind of ruins it, but here we go: H Day is a dual narrative, at once physical and mental. French makes use of the printed book and its left-right capabilities. Open the comic and on one side, the even-numbered pages (verso), you have images of a human being at war with her own body, a migraine headache manifesting as a physical deformity that manipulates her and that she manipulates in turn. On the other side, the right-side, odd-numbered pages (recto), you have the story of a dark and foreboding city where ants are taking over, smothering the inhabitants and covering them in some weird cocoon of bandages. Within this narrative, you have a girl and her dog who get separated from each other and the dog's journey to find her again.Flip back and forth between the pages, compare left to right and back again, and you will see movement, like watching a silent film on an old penny arcade viewmaster machine. Indeed, silent films came to mind throughout my reading of H Day, and not just because it's wordless. The city side is drawn in heavy detail, using lots of pencil shading and texturing to create a completely solid world. The blocky buildings, dark shadows, and imposing angles reminded me of the ambitious early cinema of Josef von Sternberg and Fritz Lang. The framing and construction are expressionistic and scary. In contrast, the headache side is drawn with less detail, the figures in pencil outline, the interior sometimes shown in x-ray. For anyone who follows French's daily sketch blog, certain images that seemed random once upon a time now make sense. Now we know why she was drawing those wicker baskets and traps.The visual metaphors aren't overly complex on the surface. The headache girl's physical agony is driving the narrative of the city. You should hopefully get that right away. It's how the images develop, how the artist pulls you along and expresses herself, that is important. Complexities emerge, deeper meanings suggest themselves to you. Rational thought is your least effective tool for interpretation, you have to let the pictures work their magic. I actually read H Day as an advance pdf on my iPad, and so I was able to scroll back and forth, click through, move the drawings at my own speed, one picture morphing into the next instantaneously without any division. Too many avant-garde and abstract cartoonists are content to just play with the flow of images, to detail their hallucinations and the psychoses without concerning themselves with whether or not they ultimately communicate anything with their drawings. Renee French is in a class by herself; indeed, a class most cartoonists would do well to take. H Day schools each and every one of them. There is meaning here, there is feeling, Renee French never forgets that her audience wants to end up with something when they close the book. H Day is devastating and wonderful and the final images are too, too sublime. Dare I say, the conclusion is sentimental in the ways that people who decry all sentimentality forget that art should be? So many alternative cartoonists depict real life as caricature, whereas Renee abandons real life altogether and ends up being far more honest. For as “out there” as her stories and images always are, she never for a second stops being human.If H Day doesn't dominate end-of-year lists in a few months, I'm done with the whole stinking lot of you.

  • Jeff Jackson
    2018-12-27 16:36

    This seemingly simple tale of migraines and ant invasions turns out to be impossible to absorb in one read. Parts of it reminded me of "Driven by Lemons" -- the scrambled mad logic seemingly at work beneath the pages themselves -- while some of the beautifully drafted cityscapes were reminiscent of Shaun Tan's "The Arrival." The narrative seemed teasingly close to coming together at points, but then my interpretation would dissolve like the charcoal lines on the opposite page.

  • Catherine
    2019-01-23 00:34

    A black-and-white wordless book featuring two narratives side-by-side with the reader left to contemplate what the relationship might be. I liked the individual drawings but overall didn’t quite get it.

  • elizabeth roberts-zibbel
    2019-01-15 00:34

    A stunning art book filled with shadows and eerie images recreating migraine. “h day” = Headache day.

  • Nicola Mansfield
    2019-01-06 16:20

    I love Renee French's disturbing, somewhat macabre illustration and storytelling, but I am not going to even pretend I understand what this book is about! The back of the book tells me that the author is telling an autobiographical story that "illustrates her struggles with migraine headaches and Argentine ant infestation". OK. This is a wordless art book with a sense of oppression hanging over the whole thing. The left-hand pages show, through imagery, a man suffering from a migraine. I suffer migraines myself and did relate to this. I felt as if she drew this whole book, only when she was suffering from migraines at the time. Now the right-hand pages are something else. A fantastical story of walls, a lost dog, people falling, perhaps dying?, lots of ants, doom, gloom, heavy but with a release at the end. In some weird kind of way the left and right pages, though not related in story, connect ever so slightly graphically. As I said there is a release at the end, and there is also for the migraine sufferer. The only words I can think of to describe the book are bizarre and strange.

  • Allie
    2019-01-02 17:46

    This is definitely an odd book. Renee French illustrates sort of an impression of a migraine headache. One the left side of the page is a figure in various stages of being overtaken by a blob. On the right is a loose narrative taking place in a giant blocky city. French creates an incredibly surreal universe (as usual) and you are left to your own devices to navigate and interpret.I first read an excerpt from this in The Best American Comics 2012, and it was one of the few that really jumped out to me. I get migraines myself, and even though this isn't how I see my own migraines it did really resonate. French juxtaposes delicate, very full pencil drawings on the right with a minimal, sensitive line drawing on the left. It is a beautiful, hypnotic book.

  • Josephus FromPlacitas
    2019-01-12 22:20

    Too capital-A Arty for my tastes, but clearly a serious work of art. Without the back jacket of the book telling me what I was looking at (an impressionistic account of suffering through migraines and an Argentine ant infestation), it would have meant almost nothing to me. All I would have seen was creepy, generally interesting-to-look-at art about a faceless character with a massive head malady, with images of a dog in a grey doomscape being tortured and made miserable by ants, constricting bandages, and inescapable oceans. Wordless impressionism is not my cuppa tea.It was kind of interesting to flip the pages and turn it into an arty, surreal flipbook. But thank god for the public library, because I'd never have been interested in a 30-dollar flipbook.

  • Chris
    2019-01-23 16:30

    This is not a pleasant read, but is brilliant and disturbing and that describes French’s body of work. Why would you want to read an unpleasant, claustrophobic book that you feel as trapped in as that dark wisp of fog? Because Renee French created it and it and the creature (can art be a creature?) grabs you by the forehead and squeezes until you wish you could pop and want to ride this bed tossing train of misery—French is just that good. If you loved Renee’s the Ticking then run out and buy this book… that is not for sale yet, so just do your pre-order at Amazon or (preferably) your local comic or mom & pop bookstore. If anyone tells you that comics can’t be art, pull out your copy of H Day and break their nose with it and steal their wallet.

  • Sofie Brånedal
    2019-01-14 19:46

    The story about headache were amazing! So many details. So inspirational. So creative. No words were needed. The antinvasion however... I did not get that story at all. That one could have become so much better by adding words to it, or something more to explain what was going on and how it were related to the headache. I did not understand what they had incommon. Something about a bed, that was obvious in two last pictures, but what exactly I do not know. So that sadly brought down the rating to only four stars, though I do think the headache deserves five stars on its own.

  • Russell Grant
    2018-12-28 23:16

    I like French's work, but this is a bunch of bullshit. The back and sales description states it's a tense narration on her struggles with migraines and an ant infestation. There's no narrative or story to be found here, instead it's a couple hundred pages of art work that's more in line with a gallery show of a series of works then a comic book. Which is fine since the artwork is her usual top notch standard, it's just disappointing when you expect a graphic novel from such a talented story teller.

  • Tom
    2019-01-02 18:22

    With "Eraserhead"-like mystery, ambiguity, and unease, "H Day" is a dreamlike graphic novel consisting of two parallel stories on facing pages. (Or are they separate stories that only seem parallel because of occasional use of elements in the facing pictures that appear roughly analogous to each other?) The only improvement that could be made in the presentation of the story would be to print it on vellum--the medium French draws on--to better bring out the texture of the smudges, pencil lines, and erasures that contribute greatly to the mood of the pictures here.

  • P.
    2019-01-12 17:40

    I would hesitate to call this a graphic novel because there's not a tooooootally cohesive narrative. Were it not for the back cover copy I wouldn't know what this is about, but I would enjoy it nonetheless. And the left side drawings can be flipped through like a flip book.Mysterious and smudgy with a great evoking of itchiness and stuffiness and being stuck in your own headpain, drifting around on painkillers, stuck on a thought.

  • Stephanie
    2019-01-02 21:42

    I didn't read the back of the book until I finished reading the whole thing, but, as a migraine sufferer, migraines were all I could think about reading this. The narratives proceed according to a kind of dream logic, but the rooting in the experience of a migraine, or any kind of pain, is evocative and visceral, tying the book back in reality somewhat, which I appreciate. And every single image is beautiful and haunting.

  • Sonic
    2019-01-04 21:17

    Vague, weird, surreal, bleak and wonderful. Edward Gorey meets Jim Woodring a'la Anders Nilsen. This is a cheap comparison, ... that mistakenly does not emphasize how super original Renee French is, ... and that is why I gave the five star rating.Not sure what this was, ...but I would like to try to read it again sometime.

  • Joe
    2018-12-29 16:36

    One of the most literal examples of "sequential art" I have ever seen. I "read" this twice, and I am still not sure what happened in it, but the pencil images and the hints of narrative cohesion elevate it far above just about anything else I have "read" this year. I just don't know why.Renee French is phenomenal.

  • Kobeest
    2019-01-06 23:38

    just picked up three renee french books and think she is amazing...h day captures the sense of her migranes it almost makes me wish i got them--almost. the dog creature is just as wonderful and shows a lot of whimsy as it explores about a spare landscape. not for all but definitely good stuff; strikes me as a cross between jim woodring and edward gorey.

  • Peter Landau
    2018-12-24 21:34

    Beautifully drawn, mysteriously told and like a mental everlasting gobstopper that keeps you chewing waiting for the flavor to fade. It doesn't.

  • Miro
    2019-01-06 00:43

    Beyond words.

  • Megan
    2019-01-20 16:32

    I'd ideally give this 3.5 stars. I enjoyed French's style and her pencil drawings (especially of her dealing with the ant infestation).

  • David Gallin-Parisi
    2019-01-05 23:33

    This has the best visual depiction of migraines I've ever seen. Quietly remarkable.

  • Brian
    2019-01-08 20:45

    Little too out there for me. I'll keep swimming though.