Goes Review

By | Monday, May 17, 2021 Leave a Comment
Goes is a new comic by Luke Kruger-Howard, from the equally new Goes Books. (I believe they launched just over a month ago.) I'll discuss the book a bit first before getting to the publishing model.

This first book has four unconnected stories around the theme of "touch." The first, and longest, is entitled "Men's Holding Group" and is about a community project a guy has started to encourage men to touch each other more. Explicitly in a non-romantic, non-sexual way. Just reaching out to another human being and connecting with them. It's a deliberate attempt to mitigate the toxic masculinity so many of us grew up with. Most of the story focuses on the group session itself, but Kruger-Howard shows readers some examples of what that might look like outside the session. Guys at the gym, the male half of the Friends cast, the high school football team... It looks like... well, basically the female equivalent of the same scenarios. This is what "normal" would be for evryone if so much of our culture didn't deliberately encourage boys to repress any physical manifestations of love.

Normally, I'd say it would be an interesting thought experiment. I've spent much of the past decade deliberately trying to get past that, and I still find it difficult at times. But it takes on a more pointed meaing today in 2021, particularly after the organizer asks, "When was the last time you were held by another man?" Thanks to the pandemic, I think literally the only person I've had any physical contact with in the past year has been my wife. No hand shakes, fist bumps, high fives... nothing. I think I did hug several friends -- men and women -- at the last comic convention I went to, but that was February 2020.

The second story, "Dead Dog," is about a guy in his mid-20s, married with a young kid, whose dog passes away at the age of fourteen. It's a very touching piece, and I was instantly brought back to when I lost my 13-year-old Quincy a few years ago. We don't deserve dogs.

"Let Me Show You Around" is about a house that is certain that it will fall into the ocean at some point, but doesn't know when, and "Goes" is a short reflection on holding on to your one-year-old. I had a little more trouble connecting with these, personally, but none of the discussions I've had with my homes have ever been that esoteric and I don't have kids, so that's hardly surprising.

I won't get into the full philosophy behind Goes Books -- you can read that more in depth here -- but the upshot is that Art is more important than Capitalism, so the books are free. Kruger-Howard only had 2000 of these printed, but he was sending them out literally at no cost. You could donate if you like, but it wasn't necessary even for the printed book. He's still giving away free copies, but now he's only able send out electronic versions of this book; I believe he'll follow a similar process with the next book.

There's definitely a potential "how good could it be if he's giving if away" concern but I, for one, found it quite enjoyable and, more importantly, thought provoking. Which is the real point of capital-A Art. I highly recommend signing up for the digital edition, and the next publication that they put out, try to jump on that ASAP. I have no idea how tenable this idea is in even the anything-longer-than-short-term so take advantage while you can. Some good and clever stuff here, and I can't wait to see more!
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