Books·Canadian

Heaven No Hell

A comic by Michael DeForge.

Michael DeForge

In the past ten years, Michael DeForge has released eleven books. While his style and approach have evolved, he has never wavered from taut character studies and incisive social commentary with a focus on humor. He has deeply probed subjects like identity, gentrification, fame, and sexual desire.

In "No Hell," an angel's tour of the five tiers of heaven reveals her obsession with a haunting infidelity. In "Raising," a couple uses an app to see what their unborn child would look like. Of course, what begins as a simple face-melding experiment becomes a nightmare of too-much-information where the young couple is forced to confront their terrible choices. "Recommended for You" is an anxious retelling of our narrator's favorite TV show - a Purge-like societal collapse drama - as a reflection of our desire for meaning in pop culture. Each of these stories shows the inner turmoil of an ordinary person coming to grips with a world vastly different than their initial perception of it. The humor is searing and the emotional weight lingers long after the story ends.

Heaven No Hell collects DeForge's best work yet. His ability to dig into a subject and break it down with beautiful drawings and sharp writing makes him one of the finest short story writers of the past decade, in comics or beyond. Heaven No Hell is always funny, sometimes sad, and continuously innovative in its deconstruction of society. (From Drawn & Qaurterly)

Why Michael DeForge wrote Heaven No Hell

"The big things that come out from Heaven No Hell is that I'm clearly interested in utopian societies. I'm trying to work out different ideas of what utopia could be. I have spent so much of my career creating dystopias and drawing disasters and calamities.

I'm trying to work out different ideas of what utopia could be. I have spent so much of my career creating dystopias and drawing disasters and calamities.

"I've done post-apocalyptic work. But it makes sense to be working that way because we live in a fairly dystopian time — but a powerful thing that art can do is also show alternative ways of being and living. 

"I've been interested in trying to work out those ideas — and not always working out! My utopias don't always succeed unambiguously, but it's valuable to try to sort that out on the page. Even as valuable for me personally, because I find it interesting to pose these hypotheticals and to try to work out what it would look like, if we got what we wanted." 

Read more in his interview with CBC Books.

Other books by Michael DeForge

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now