…the high shelf that contains the very best [graphic novels]Art Spiegelman's
Maus, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, to name threeneeds to make room for another: Richard McGuire's Here…There's a lot of marrow in this unusual volume's bones…It's a symphonic work about transience and loss, related in artwork that has some of Edward Hopper's moody, light-struck realism… Here is, at heart, a compendium of small moments that chime in unexpected ways, and that together acquire genuine depth. Mr. McGuire's portals and wormholes to past and future underline everything that's fragile and temporal about our present. He's given us a series of little Zapruder clips of intimate experience.
The New York Times - Dwight Garner
Expanding on an influential piece that first appeared in Raw in 1989, McGuire, best known for his illustrated children’s books, explores a single patch of land (apparently in Perth Amboy, N.J.) over the course of millions of years. As in the earlier version, McGuire’s perspective is fixed in what is (for most of the book) the corner of a family room, even as the narrative skips across centuries. At the beginning and end, dinosaurs and futuristic animals (respectively) stalk pages unadorned by people. But throughout most of the book, the reader sees human families dance, die, celebrate, fracture, and just live. A Native American couple makes out in the woods, people in 1980s garb pose for a portrait, a 24th-century team waves Geiger counters, a 1999 cat pads across the frame, and so on. The flat, hard lines produce art that looks like an approximation of Edward Hopper’s clean bright paintings, created on an outdated computer program. McGuire threads miniplots and knowing references through his hopscotch narrative, building up a head of steam that’s almost overwhelmingly poignant. His masterful sense of time and the power of the mundane makes this feel like the graphic novel equivalent of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Dec.)
“Brilliant and revolutionary…. In “Here,” McGuire has introduced a third dimension to the flat page. He can poke holes in the space-time continuum simply by imposing frames that act as transtemporal windows into the larger frame that stands for the provisional now. “Here” is the comic-book equivalent of a scientific breakthrough. It is also a lovely evocation of the spirit of place, a family drama under the gaze of eternity and a ghost story in which all of us are enlisted to haunt and be haunted in turn.” **A New York Times Notable Book of 2015** Luc Sante, The New York Times Book Review “A book like this comes along once a decade, if not a century…. I guarantee that you’ll remember exactly where you are, or were, when you first read it.” Chris Ware, The Guardian Jennifer Schuessler, “Getting from here to there can be hard enough. But it has taken Richard McGuire 25 years to do something even more complicated: get form here to here….the book promises to leapfrog immediately to the front ranks of the graphic-novel genre.” The New York Times “The magic of Here is that somehow, alchemically, this sparse little exercise begins to yank on your emotions. As your eye lurches around the page, as you flip back and forth between pages, an irresistible sentiment swells. Rare among conceptual works, Here manages to tug your heart even as it undercuts your comfortable role of reader.... Meanwhile, though, the past and present humans continue their tender little lives. Telling stories, playing, making love — what will be their fate? That’s just one of the countless questions Here leaves unanswered. Even so, it’s deeply satisfying. Kind of like a story that never ends.” Etelka Lehoczky, npr.com “Imaginative and ingenious, Here transcends the canon of traditional graphic novels. McGuire discusses the inconsistencies of memory, a central theme of Speigelman’s Maus series. He readapts the labyrinthine quality of Alison Bechel’s Fun Home and focuses on the small moments of everyday experience, similar to parts of Craig Thompson’ autobiographical graphic novel Blankets. However, Here retains almost no qualities of a novel: It is non-linear, there are no distinct characters, apart from the space, and there is no plot. Despite these seemingly large hurdles, McGuire produces a reading experience that is emotional, thought-provoking and interactive.... A brisk and brilliant read, Here combines genres and styles in a meditation on impermanence and the processes of memory.” Marnie Kingsley, San Antonio Current Financial Times “McGuire is able to wring a surprising array of emotions from simple lines and blocks of muted colour interspersed with deliberately hackneyed jokes and the uncanny wisdom of the everyday. And the non-chronological arrangement seems faithful to how consciousness really works, the way we shape and reshape the story of ourselves by editing and re-editing highlights from our lives. I found it compelling to shuttle around in time to discover how earlier events informed later ones. Midway through the book one character says to another: ‘Life has a flair for rhyming events.’ Clearly, McGuire does too.” “Even as the ground beneath your feet falls away, McGuire creates poetry out of the echoes that’s both playful and moving.” Straight.com “For the long-awaited book-length ‘Here,’ McGuire adds lavish color and some plot, but he preserves the captivating, uncanny sense of love, anger and tragedy flying across the centuries while staying in one place.” Minneapolis Star Tribune Dominicumile.com “A new, full-color graphic novel version of Here is stunning. Over more than three hundred pages, McGuire revisits and rebuilds his original strip with flashy interiors set in vivid pastels, and landscape sequences fleshed-out in moody watercolors, computer software-built textures, and sketchy pencil lines….. memorable and executed wonderfully” “I soon found myself immersed and often moved. Here has the surprising depth as a magician’s top hat. The combination of the surreal and the nostalgic are mesmerizing. The book is an ingenious epic of time and space, and I think readers everywhere, and of many ages, will find it delightful.” Patrick Lohier, Boingboing.net Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Expanding on an influential piece that first appeared in Raw in 1989, McGuire, best known for his illustrated children’s books, explores a single patch of land (apparently in Perth Amboy, N.J.) over the course of millions of years…. The flat, hard lines produce art that looks like an approximation of Edward Hopper’s clean bright paintings, created on an outdated computer program. McGuire threads miniplots and knowing references through his hopscotch narrative, building up a head of steam that’s almost overwhelmingly poignant. His masterful sense of time and the power of the mundane makes this feel like the graphic novel equivalent of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Later spreads flash with terrible and ancient supremacy, impending cataclysm, and distant, verdant renaissance, then slow to inevitable, irresistible conclusion. The muted colors and soft pencils further blur individual moments into a rich, eons-spanning whole. A gorgeous symphony.” Booklist (starred review) “McGuire’s quiet artwork in a subdued full-color palette reveals nuanced gestures beautifully, sometimes with precise lines, others in sketchy sepia tones, all of which emphasize the passage of time. The concept is stunningly simple, and in laying bare the universality of existence—its beauty, ugliness, and mundanity—it is utterly moving.
Illustrator McGuire (What's Wrong With This Book, 1997, etc.) once again frames a fixed space across the millennia.McGuire's original treatment of the concept—published in 1989 in Raw magazine as six packed pages—here gives way to a graphic novel's worth of two-page spreads, and the work soars in the enlarged space. Pages unspool like a player-piano roll, each spread filled by a particular time, while inset, ever shifting panels cut windows to other eras, everything effervescing with staggered, interrelated vignettes and arresting images. Researchers looking for Native American artifacts in 1986 pay a visit to the house that sprouts up in 1907, where a 1609 Native American couple flirtatiously recalls the legend of a local insatiable monster, while across the room, an attendee of a 1975 costume party shuffles in their direction, dressed as a bear with arms outstretched. A 1996 fire hose gushes into a 1934 floral bouquet, its shape echoed by a billowing sheet on the following page, in 2015. There's a hint of Terrence Malick's beautiful malevolence as panels of nature—a wolf in 1430 clenching its prey's bloody haunch; the sun-dappled shallows of 2113's new sea—haunt scenes of domesticity. McGuire also plays with the very concept of panels: a boy flaunts a toy drum in small panels of 1959 while a woman in 1973 sets up a projection screen (a panel in its own right) that ultimately displays the same drummer boy from a new angle; in 2050, a pair of old men play with a set of holographic panels arranged not unlike the pages of the book itself and find a gateway to the past. Later spreads flash with terrible and ancient supremacy, impending cataclysm, and distant, verdant renaissance, then slow to inevitable, irresistible conclusion. The muted colors and soft pencils further blur individual moments into a rich, eons-spanning whole. A gorgeous symphony.