Written by Tristan Crane and Ted Naifeh
Art by Ted Naifeh
The comics shop that I've been buying from for close to twenty years is having to move by the end of 2016, since a developer has bought up two city blocks, and it looks like they are either going to be taking down the beautiful Victorian-era street that it operates out of, or the rent is going to be ridiculous. Because of this, they've been blowing out backstock like mad, and I found this handsome hardcover in their discount annex for only a dollar. Knowing nothing about it beyond the fact that it looks nice, I picked it up.
How Loathsome is a very good comic. It was published in 2004 (presumably it was a four-issue miniseries first), and is set in San Francisco's seedy underbelly. The main character is Catherine Gore, a writer, who runs with a group of genderfluid drug users.
Each of the four chapters tell a complete story featuring Catherine and some of her circle, as they fall for someone new, party, use, and talk about it. Nothing major ever happens, but when the book ended, I was wishing there were more stories about these characters.
On two occasions, we read stories of Catherine's. One features a monk who enters a suicide pact with his young lover, but then doesn't follow through after the boy kills himself. The other is a ghost story. They stand out a little, and disrupt the story, but give more insight into Catherine's character.
There is a definite early Vertigo feeling to this book, and Ted Naifeh's art matches that aesthetic well too. I'm pleased I picked this up, and would recommend it to people who enjoy Ross (now Sophie) Campbell's Wet Moon.