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Bottomless Belly Button is a graphic novel comedy-drama that follows the dysfunctional adventures of the Loony Family. When the parents announce their divorce, the family comes together at their beach house for a week. Dennis, the eldest son, is having marriage troubles of his own, and searches for clues, trap doors, and secret tunnels. Claire, the middle child, is a single mother with a troubled 16-year-old daughter, Jill. The youngest child, Peter, is a hack filmmaker suffering from paralyzing insecurities who establishes an unorthodox romance with a mysterious day care counselor at the beach.
Dash Shaw lives in Richmond, VA. He was a 2010 Sundance Labs fellow and a 2014-2015 Cullman Center fellow at the New York Public Library. A cartoonist, animator, and illustrator, he was born in Los Angeles and attended the School of Visual Arts.
A clear candidate for book of the year. A genuine masterpiece. Engrossing... very compelling. Shaw's online and bound comics inhabit surreal spaces both cerebral and emotional, leaping from zombie love stories to futuristic set pieces without resorting to predictability...It's probably safe to say he has arrived. Dash Shaw brilliantly weaves the multiple story lines together to create a funny/tragic tale of a family at the brink of falling apart. I like Dash's intelligently-restrained creativity with the comic medium... I was mesmerized through the entire book. In the insular comics community, Shaw has made a name for himself (and a good one it is) by willfully eschewing the mainstream to follow his own decidedly original and peculiar muse. [Dash Shaw] seems to have managed to cross [the] strict border between painstakingly planned genius and slapdash brilliance... It's enough to make a grown-up reviewer swoon. Shaw draws the story of this family reunion with rare attention to detail, the lives of every family member young and old are explored with his nuanced pen. From the elegant cover to the closing panel, this is a powerful emotional story, and one I will recommend as an example of the heights graphic novels can attain. Starred Review. Stunningly conceived and executed... Masterfully using the comics medium to juggle all the different characters, weaving their stories together seamlessly, Shaw allows the Loonys' emotions to play out naturally without forced resolutions, leaving a wistful hopefulness that feels just as conflicted and confusing as every family is. [A] family drama filled with neurosis, romance, mystery, comedy, fond memories, bad parenting, teen angst and sexual awakening. The book is big but not overwhelming, and sad with out being tragic. This is a graphic novel of the tallest order, from one of the most unique voices in the medium today.--Steve Ponzo Kaleidoscopic... Shaw has a deft touch... Like the very best illustrated fiction, Shaw's work moves between pathos and humor, between the fantastic and the familiar. Reads almost like a John Updike novel... [Dash Shaw] really utilizes the medium to its fullest capacity.--Benn Ray on WYPR Baltimore public radio One of my favorite books of the year.--"Pop Candy" Shaw's dysfunctional-family epic is so funny and engrossing we'd expect Oprah to pick it, but for all the graphic frog sex.--"The Top Ten Graphic Novels of the Year: #2" This book came from out of nowhere to great critical acclaim, and it pushed young Mr. Shaw in the spotlight as one of the most exciting new cartoonists in the field. ... This haunting story of a dysfunctional family twists and turns and stuck with me long after I read it.--"Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2009" Bottomless Belly Button--720 pages of knotty family drama, emotional teen angst, lyrical passages about nature, good jokes, bad parenting, architectural schematics, rudimentary codes, and explicit sex--has become the graphic novel of the year, combining youthful exuberance, sage storytelling, and visual experimentation. Bottomless Belly Button is a wonderful book that I strongly recommend for every comic fan... Dash Shaw is a name to remember.--Laurent De Maertelaer Bottomless Belly Button reaches so high and executes so much of what it does so well that it shames you into reconsidering every other book you may have praised recently. ...A work this humongous, this idiosyncratic and this almost totally devoid of pretension... is sort of a miracle. If there are better books this year, it will be a very good year.--Tom Spurgeon