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The Cage ★ The Cage PDF / Epub ✪ Author Martin Vaughn-James – First published in 1975 The Cage was a graphic novel before there was a name for the genre Considered an early masterpiece of the genre the Canadian cult comic has been out of print for decades The ne First published in The Cage was a graphic novel before there was a name for the genre Considered an early masterpiece of the genre the Canadian cult comic has been out of print for decades The new edition includes an introduction by Canadian comics master and Lemony Snicket collaborator Seth Palookaville; It's a Good Life If You Don't WeakenCryptic and disturbing like Dave Gibbons Watchmen illustrating a film by Ozu The Cage spurns narrative for atmosphere guiding us through a series of disarrayed rooms and desolate landscapes tracking a stuttering and circling time and a seuence of objects headphones inky stains bedsheets It's not about where we're going but how – if – we get there.

  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • The Cage
  • Martin Vaughn-James
  • 24 October 2015

10 thoughts on “The Cage

  1. Nate D Nate D says:

    This is flawless Recurring and interlinked motifs a cage or machine a hospital bed an explosive gout of ink or blood seuential images architectural desolation the passage of time monitoring devices trace an obliue story steeped in menace and isolation conveyed through dissociated image exacting perfect cold still and narration hypnotic abstract eliding between meanings slipping unexpectedly from detachment to violence lapsing in and out of sync but in constant dialogue nonetheless It's utterly uniue in the comics form bearing similarity of feel and influence from 60s70s film and literature than from the underground comics scene that paved the way for sophisticated visual narrative Tellingly it was put out by Canadian avant garde literary press Coach House notably responsible for keeping Nicole Brossard in printAnyway it's essentialI was recently trying to draft some kind of a list of favorite comics ever not necessarily inarguably best certainly not most influential or historically significant but subjectively those that speak to my imagination and aesthetics I came up with about 15 titles most from the last 15 years or so since that's the period of my attention and of the availability of the works themselves Which underscores that I need to read comics better comics particularly those outre versions of earlier erasAnd then the Cage I'd been hearing about this for ages Rumors breathless reviews a friend at a party There's a library upstairs they even have a copy of THE CAGE Its legend around it like a labyrinth a city a plain of cryptic totems And now at last it's been reissued and it entirely lives up to all of thatSo what is this about exactly? That has remained a fine honed mystery since the Cage's release in the mid 70s but it's hard not to get strong feelings from it Nothing could suggest it to be meaningless The titular cage is an oppressive overriding image at times superimposed upon or perhaps interchangeable with a bleakly isolated hospital bed sometimes surrounded by observing instruments sometimes subject to extraordinary instances of deformation and destruction Humans have been removed from the action but their absence tears a hole surrounded by abandoned personal effects and an at times overwhelming affect even if frozen trapped in glass and in time An instant seems to lie at the center; it is repeatedly built towards rehearsed reiterated as many versions of a single provisional event What that is what violent or rending or significant act of moment this is at the center of the mystery of the book but it is real and significant To impose a single meaning on it would be to deprive it of its occult power but I could advance several with an array of evidence to back it Like all great works this kind of interpretation only traces the outlines of something greater that can never be fully articulatedI mentioned the subjectivity of that list above So here arrayed for consideration are some of those subjective ualities that I am irrevocably drawn to architectural precision atmosphere surrealism formal experimentation abstraction of story or visuals ability to operate without dialogue to strong overriding narrative drive for stretches immediacy of experience So not so different from what I might look for in a book or a film I have some fairly consistent overriding interests realizing this completely changed my reading actually Examples on a kind of spectrum from silent abstraction of experience to a traditional albeit fantastic storytelling structure would be Yuichi Yokoyama's Travel Hans Rickheit's The Suirrel Machine and Charles Burns' Black Hole

  2. Jeff Jackson Jeff Jackson says:

    This 1975 visual novel offers a uniue collision of words and images Imagine an Alain Robbe Grille novel illustrated by Roland Torpor Fantastic Planet etc and you're partway there Or perhaps an architectural manual storyboarded by Alejandro Jodorowsky Deeply cryptic and evocative of something or other

  3. David Schaafsma David Schaafsma says:

    When Seth calls something a masterwork I listen When he calls the artist a national treasure such as Marshall McLuhan or Norman McLaren or Glenn Gould I pay attention His fine prefatory essay begins to get at how this 1972 comic novel explores and capitalizes on the resources of the comics medium And there is a short intro by Vaughn James himself which like Seth's own words doesn't help us know what this text is really about I am not sure it matters There are many works of the imagination of nightmare of the surreal of formal experimentation And neither of our introducers claim to know what it is actually about Having lived in 1972 having spent years protesting against the Vietnam War post the deaths of MLK and Robert Kennedy the race riots of the sixties the campus unrest having read Kafka and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Catch 22 though those texts are funnier than this one I can play my life and cultural perceptions through this text and maybe I am invited to In this time the neo liberal destruction of the economy and the environment a cage Abu Ghraib? The drawings are dark and precise and filled with decay and loss and emptiness a post apocalyptic scene No people A Rod Serling Twilight Zone futuristic nightmare? The actual one page panels have no words as no one lives in them no one can speak but an unnamed and unidentified narrator speaks abstractly and also sometimes descriptively through the broken machinery and abandoned architecture I don't uite know what to make of it beyond my imagined dark political fantasies about it but it has a haunting uality and formal precision that is impressive and evocative and mysterious I read it a few times through and took my time with it and I'll read it again I 'm sure Serious comics exploration

  4. Avis F. Avis F. says:

    Don't expect anything while reading this The Cage is one of those abstract projects that you just have to experience

  5. jen jen says:

    This is a book that I wish I had encountered maybe 27 years ago and read again today so that I could compare my reaction then and now Probably when I was about 18 or 19 I remember constant excitement as I was discovering unconventional and weird books art and films The Cage read back then would likely have had so much significance and so much of it would have felt so personal But reading it now with a layer of objectivity built up over the years and a strong base of material already discovered I just really enjoyed The Cage for its strange narrative structure and surrealistic style without being so caught up in what it was really supposed to mean Both ways of seeing things are good they are just different

  6. Jeff Mazurek Jeff Mazurek says:

    There's an inside joke in academia that goes something like this if you want to submit a paper to a conference and present it there change the first two sentences of whatever you're working on to reflect the theme of said conference and send it along You've got a chance Rinse and repeatI mention it because this book is High Art with a capital HA and as such it causes me to think of it in light of every paper I wrote Is this book Duchampian or am I just recycling every thought I've ever had about Marcel Duchamp in response to it? Seth who wrote the introduction to the book references Duchamp as well so maybe I'm not alone There's something decidedly like that old Frenchman in Vaughn James's book with its meticulous renderings and explorations of Perspective all impressive with its repurposed machines and non narrative non linear text accompanying its visual elements Vaughn James does not appear to share Duchamp's erotically charged sense of humor however which is sort of a shame I thinkI also think that there's a thesis dissertation or book to be written about architecture as a physical embodiment of a society's ideals or city plans as drafts for said society's vision of utopia with this book and the work of Windsor Mckay as springboards with which to explore those subjects others have surely written such tomes with the achievements of the renaissance the age of enlightenment andor classical civilizations as springboards And so on blah blah blahI admire the draftsmanship in this book and read glorious chateaus and urban decay and all those spaces might imply in it I like that some of its have frames drawn around them that we are not merely looking at images on pages but images of images Views within views etcSo in conclusion High Art here Difficult to make sense of but rich to ponder over

  7. Angypants Angypants says:

    Beautiful Haunting Weird Delightfully weirdThis is surrealistic comics at its best Do not try with this one just let it happen This is a dream a nightmare maybe unfolding DisjointedIf you hated Waiting for Godot or La jetée this will also bother you ;

  8. Reading Reader Reading Reader says:

    Sorry but this is a bunch of pretentious nonsense The words are hyped up overwrought baloney The art is technically accurate but soulless Maybe I'd be impressed if I was high

  9. Moon Captain Moon Captain says:

    I've read this several times and get something new with each reading

  10. Jessica Vacek Jessica Vacek says:

    Hmm this book is like a massive MFA project If I was in art school still this would be the sickest thing I'd ever seen The author says it's like the last slide show on Earth There are some really great images They cycle and recycle It's very punk honestly Like this inevitable flood of mute destruction a string of bloodied rags and broken nails obliterating it's builders overtaken in their endeavorIs it about how we are all trapped in the cage of self destruction? Society will fall to a force? Is the cage in the room right now?? Literally speaking it's a book with drawings of plants and twisted planes There are a lot of parts that did shock me I wish I could look at the images together rather than individually Format weirdWe doomed

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