From Hell this came.
And that's the Genius of JT Dockery: Is this a story about an alien chicken dinner that attacks and eats you back? A severity of outsider that walks in Eraserhead solitude. But not even that, because you can try to reach for some grounded theme in narrative or feeling. Dockery doesn't write or draw or plot like that. You can try to relate the darknesses to your own life here, but that's the trick; it's so personal, you actually can't. You can relate to the fact that it's honesty spermed straight onto paper. You can relate because there's a shared blather amongst all of us stuck on this thing about how lonely and fucked we are; you can relate that way, certainly. But it's not some interpretation of the landlords of life taking a shit on you in some easily recognizable way. This is Dockery's very personal captures of life; we as readers can only relate to the honesty. Not the actual situations; these are too personal. More than most artists peak to express. That takes too much courage to go full into your mind and present it. I'm saying, Dockery's one of those ones that does.
Reading this is like listening to a 70s Springsteen or Prine or Tom Waits album; each song tears in with equal fervor as the last. Each story is the next track on Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" or Cooper's "Love it to Death." I know these drugs; I know these times. This is a document of frowning at the sound of the morning birds and arguing about White Lion and Lovecraft, seriously. These are real times transcribed through not broad strokes, like most art approaches, but through pinstripes of detail. Those specific 1,000 cigarette butt seconds that mount and hurt and are necessasry to express. And that's what Todd does. Country roads take me home, I'm a street walkin' cheetah with a heart full of napalm.
"With or without the CUTE FACTOR, the roots of the heart run deep."
This he says, running through crosshatching gayly, cheeking his fractious neck left and biting hosed-foot in mouth. This is an ode to Escapes. Bourbon. Legs. But a TV Eye on the evils of the world, so broadcasted and mingled in a mixolydian church mode of perfect notes that spreads it through drawn soul on paper in fucking back and white. A crash course for the Ravers.
His visual translation of Stephen Crane's "The Black Riders" is the most intense Romantic opera I've ever read. It's a black metal album bourne of Kris Kristofferson hurts and the Truth about the lack of truth expressed. It's a splay of heart. This is Lynott's "The Cowboy Song" in ink. There's a dive into total fucking isolation, but it's whizzed in the Understanding of the Human Nature.
"THISEATSITSELF" seems like a troubadour of rained woe as a body becomes full of screaming mouths. And yes, there is a penis that bites, but no more than the rest of the skin. In fact, spoiler alert, it only really consumes the eye, and that's a fucking statement if there ever was one. This is a scary knife, a scary fork.
There is peace in this chaos, and there is chaos in all peace. "The blackest of blacks, if not often, will eventually reveal light," JT proclaims in the prologue. So does despair. Oh, I mean, so does "Despair." It seems to be Dockery's darkest book, yet it bleeds the most optimism. This is a Book of Proclamation. It is a Sentence boasted in Skin, Bourbon and That Feel felt when low but born anew in the dark fires.
And, it is asked: "What then?"
JT Dockery's DESPAIR, Vol.1 is released like rats by Institute 193. Go here to purchase.