Larry Marder first started his Beanworld comic in the early 80's and after stopping for 15 years he recently continued the story. It's probably fitting that the title had such a long break because it reflects the scope of what he is trying to achieve: charting the development of civilisation. I kid you not, told through a society of sentient beans we watch them pass milestones such as learning to use tools, discovering art, the benefit of the written word and philosophy. Or as Marder himself aptly describes it "Beanworld is about the affinity of life. It's like A Bugs Life meets Mutts, as told by Dr. Seuss and Joseph Campbell."
It's a unique and highly impressive piece of work for being able to communicate a simple, fun and engaging story which inherently carries such important sociological themes. Life is stripped down to the basics allowing readers to give thought to their own community, the ecological system they are part of and the evolution of any customary habits.
Yes, the artwork takes a little getting used to along with the silly names but stick with it because it won't be long before you're smiling to yourself as Mr Spook waits for the Gran'ma'pa tree to drop a Sprout-Butt before leading the Chow Sol'jer army down through the Thin Lake and the Four Realities to attack the Hoi-Polloi Ring Herd and steal their Fresh Chow. A wonderful, rewarding all ages book. SLS