Comic of the Year of the Day/Comics Time: Big Questions #15

Every day throughout the month of December, Attentiondeficitdisorderly will spotlight one of the best comics of 2010. Today’s comic is…

Big Questions #15
Anders Nilsen, writer/artist
Drawn & Quarterly, December 2010
48 pages
$7.95
Buy it from Drawn & Quarterly

Big Questions is a series about the impossibility of learning the answers to those questions, because there are none. Even still, you might be forgiven for expecting the final issue of Anders Nilsen’s decade-in-the-making, 600-page funny-animal opus to offer some kind of benediction for the plight of its avian and human protagonists. Maybe it’s just one character who ends up really getting it, maybe it’s some magic-realist glimpse of a world beyond a la Chauncey Gardiner’s final stroll in Being There, maybe it’s just Harry discussing Item Six on the agenda or Gaston’s telling us what his mother put him on her knee and said to him or Michael Palin in drag summing things up prior to the gratuitous pictures of penises in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, but it’s something, right?

No, not really. Maybe Morris the bird’s carpe-diem credo on the final page can give us some direction, but in general, the climactic events of the previous issue end up offering little insight, and no one takes the opportunity to grow. The zealots Charlotte and Leroy remain steadfast, as do the hedonists Morris and Louis. The Idiot remains oblivious. The flock remains obedient. Even in death, the Pilot simply moves on to a world that if anything is even more baffling, and mute in the face of our bafflement. It’s all a big dark cave or a vast white field, our experiences accruing like tiny stippled dots; we draw our own conclusions, and are drawn by them.