Books·Canadian

Familiar Face

A comic by Michael DeForge.

Michael DeForge

The bodies of citizens and the infrastructure surrounding them is constantly updating. People can't recognize themselves in old pictures, and they wake up in apartments of completely different sizes and shapes. Commuter routes radically differ day to day. The citizens struggle with adaptability as updates happen too quickly, and the changes are far too radical to be intuitive. There is no way to resist — the updates are enacted by a nameless, faceless force.

Familiar Face's narrator works in the government's department of complaints, reading through citizens' reports of the issues they've had with the system updates. The job isn't to fix anything, but rather to be the sole human sounding board, a comfort in a system so decidedly impersonal. These complaints aren't mere bug reports — they can be anything: existential, petty, just plain heartbreaking. (From Drawn & Quarterly)

Michael DeForge is a Toronto-based creator who has won awards for comics like Leaving Richard's Valley, Dressing and Lose #1. Other acclaimed books include Stunt, Big Kids, Ant Colony, Sticks Angelica Folk Hero and more.

Why Michael DeForge wrote Familiar Face

"I've always had an interest in dystopian literature and the current [COVID] crisis has been very instructive. A lot of apocalyptic literature would be so much about the calamity where people would be wearing spiky shoulder pads navigating a zombie wasteland.

We're seeing the worst happen but it doesn't actually look like the end of the world all at once.- Michael DeForge

"But when confronted with how it actually looks — with people still going to work but work is much less safe, of staying at home and not getting paid but you're stuck in your apartment. It's like an apocalypse, but you've still got to pay rent. That's going to inform a lot of my writing and, I imagine, a lot of the ways other people write about dystopia.

"We're seeing the worst happen but it doesn't actually look like the end of the world all at once. There's a gradual decline, where everything just gets cruddier in smaller and smaller increments."

Read more in his interview with The Next Chapter.

Interviews with Michael DeForge

Toronto comic creator Michael DeForge talks about his latest graphic novel, Familiar Face. 15:04

Other books by Michael DeForge

From the book

An excerpt from Familiar Face by Michael DeForge. (Drawn & Quarterly)

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