Or Else, vol. 4: The Wild Kingdom

Writer(s): Kevin Huizenga
Artist(s): Kevin Huizenga
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
ISBN: n/a
Price: $5.95
Page count: 100
Year Released: 2006
Status: in print
Original Source: Supermonster #12
Other Collected Edition(s): n/a
Genres: all ages; fantasy; historical fiction; magic realism; satire; short stories
Recommended for Fans Of:
Possible Objectionable Material: brief nudity; mild violence
If You Like This Book, Try:
Also in This Series: Curses; Or Else, vol. 2: Gloriana; Or Else, vol. 3

Plot Summary
This digest-sized (5" x 6") collection is even more surreal than Huizenga's other works, making a description of the plot difficult. Broadly, this issue deals with the fates of some of nature's smaller creatures (such as squirrels and pigeons) in our modern, human-dominated world. Huizenga also satirizes the overblown, nearly impossible claims of advertisements, creates a few fictional kinds of apples (lifesaver gold, Eden's choice, etc.) and "fancy pigeons" (pouter, striker, golden king, etc.), and constructs a clever "evolutionary tree" of the Jesus and Darwin fish bumper stickers. There is a short, strange biography of (and excerpts by) the writer Maurice Maeterlinck, and the book ends with a story that terrifyingly illustrates the so-called butterfly effect of chaos theory.

My Own 2 Cents
I hesitate to call this volume esoteric, because I believe that even the strangest of Huizenga's work is accessible to the average reader, but The Wild Kingdom is definitely more experimental than most of his books. It also contains what is perhaps the most brilliant line in Huizenga's work, "I was saved from my own life!" a comment on the innumerable drug advertisements on television and in magazines.