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Protagonists Sydney and Eric—virtually unadorned in the award-winning creator's clean line work—abandon city life for a place that doesn't restrict procreation. They land on a desert commune where people farm and cook just after sunrise and engage in humorous but charged dialogue about how the sun burns their skin off or the synthetic, hormone-filled food in the city that causes infertility.
There's often no space between panels on The Oven's tightly organized pages. The constricted framework parallels Eric's slow-brewing feelings of confinement and longing for his urban past. The ground feels shaky under Sydney. "Do you ever wonder that this is all kind of . . . regressive?" she asks the camp's mother figure. Multiple white moons hover in the carrot-hued horizon: daylight eventually proves as fleeting as any trace of solace in the strange patch of desert in Goldstein's comic.
Sophie Goldstein will be reading from The Oven on Friday, July 10, at 7 PM at Quimby's, 1854 W North, 773-342-0910, quimbys.com.