USEREVIEW 072 (Capsule): Weeding
Weeding (Conundrum Press, 2021)
ISBN 978-1-77262-048-1 | 102 pp | $18.00 CAD — BUY Here
Weeding is a fantastic and deeply weird graphic novel. LeBleu’s artwork is reminiscent of Strange Growths by Jenny Zervakis and Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs. There’s a touch of Rory Hayes in there, too.
Martha is hosting a tea party inside her house. Outside, Martha’s garden is overrun with weeds with eyes and tendril-like vines and a Venus flytrap-style plant that eats cigarette butts. LeBleu does a great job of balancing the nightmarish garden with the banal conversations of the women inside the house, creating a very surreal and unsettling effect. There is one page in particular that shows horrible things happening outside to Martha, juxtaposed with dialogue from the characters inside bad mouthing her: toxic behaviour made manifest.
The story unfolds with the “logic” of a nightmare: a plant creature dresses itself in Martha’s clothes and approaches another character named Beth. The plant creature is obviously a plant creature but Beth says, “I’m glad you’re back. Your sister is quite something.” From there the story tilts into full-on horror, even as it keeps you guessing: what’s real? What’s not?
The publisher says this is “X-Files meets The Young and The Restless. “ I’d say there’s some David Lynch in there, too. Weeding is a dream, a nightmare, a twisted portrayal of tangled lives, intertwined like vines.
I love when the weirdness starts ramping up right around p. 26: Martha is transformed into a plant person and runs to Beth. Instead of screaming in terror, Beth says, “What took you so long?” and starts a conversation about Martha’s sister. This is a great example of the juxtapositions Lebleu uses to disorient the reader and create a dream-like state.