Books·Canadian

Leaving Richard's Valley

A comic by Michael DeForge.

Michael DeForge

Richard is a benevolent but tough leader. He oversees everything that happens in the valley, and everyone loves him for it. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his friends — Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog and Ellie Squirrel — take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard's strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they've ever known.

Michael DeForge's Leaving Richard's Valley expands from a bizarre hero's quest into something more. As this ragtag group makes their way out of the valley, and then out of the park and into the big city, we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters and more. DeForge is idiosyncratically funny but also deeply insightful about community, cults of personality and the condo-ization of cities. These eye-catching and sometimes absurd comics coalesce into a book that questions who our cities are for and how we make community in a capitalist society. (From Drawn & Quarterly)

Why Michael DeForge wrote Leaving Richard's Valley

"Having to think of something new every day could be rough. It ended up being a challenge I enjoyed. I tried not to write too far in advance, so I was put on the spot all over again. It ended up producing some pretty interesting results where the strip took a lot of detours that it wouldn't have gone on if I had planned it all out in advance very meticulously. Being forced to improvise like that was a challenging, but something I enjoyed a lot. 

Having to think of something new every day could be rough. It ended up being a challenge I enjoyed.- Michael DeForge

"I wanted to at least attempt to write about characters trying to build something new. They sometimes fail or sometimes the results are a little messy or ambiguous, but the idea of characters trying to seek out alternatives to these suffocating oppressive power structures that they live in is a thing I've been interested in writing about over the past few years. I also frequently like writing about characters where they're just beginning to see the edges of their world. Sometimes that looks like a rule or a border or a law and then they press up against it a little more."

Read more in Michael DeForge's interview with CBC Books.

From the book

An excerpt from Leaving Richard's Valley by Michael DeForge. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Other books by Michael DeForge

 

 

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