|Outstanding illustrator and artist Anders Nilsen will be at Pegasus Downtown for a visual presentation and signing of his new graphic novel, Big Questions, a new collection from Drawn & Quarterly.|
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A haunting postmodern fable, Big Questions is the magnum opus of Anders Nilsen, one of the brightest and most talented young cartoonists working today. This beautiful minimalist story, collected here for the first time, is the culmination of ten years and more than six hundred pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe. A downed plane is thought to be a bird and the unexploded bomb that came from it is mistaken for a giant egg by the group of birds whose lives the story follows. The indifferent, stranded pilot is of great interest to the birds—some doggedly seek his approval, while others do quite the opposite, leading to tensions in the group. Nilsen seamlessly moves from humor to heartbreak. His distinctive, detailed line work is paired with plentiful white space and large, often frameless panels, conveying an ineffable sense of vulnerability and openness.
Big Questions has roots in classic fables—the birds and snakes have more to say than their human counterparts, and there are hints of the hero’s journey, but here the easy moral that closes most fables is left open and ambiguous. Rather than lending its world meaning, Nilsen’s parable lets the questions wander where they will.
Anders Brekhus Nilsen was born in Northern New Hampshire and split his time growing up between there and Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied painting and installation at the University of New Mexico in Alberquerque, earning a BFA in 1996 and did a year of graduate work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before dropping out to do comics on his own. He is the author and artist of Big Question, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, Dogs and Water and Monologues for the coming Plague. He’s won two Ignatz awards, his work has been translated into several languages and been featured in Kramer’s Ergot, The Chicago Reader, the Utne Reader, Mome, Interview and elsewhere. His drawing and painting has shown internationally. He currently lives and works in Chicago.