Williams’s bold artwork suits the novel’s critique of human-driven gentrification and global capitalism.
Two ancient deities navigate modern-day sensibilities and human greed, in Eric Kostiuk Williams’s latest graphic novel, Condo Heartbreak Disco. A psychedelic romp through the near-future landscape of urban Toronto, the story explores the damage wrought by unchecked capitalism through the suffering of its casualties.
Condo Heatbreak Disco opens with queer partners Komio and The Willendorf Braid recounting how they carry out their godly duties in today’s era. But while genderfluid Komio is still able fulfill the requests of vengeance-seeking scorned women, The Willendorf Braid—an updated take on the ancient Venus-like statues—finds herself in far less demand. In addition to coping with occupational obsolescence, the deities must face location-hungry developers encroaching upon their apartment. To save their home, Komio takes on the task of tracking down those responsible, but this decision leads them to the ultimate question: are humans worth saving?
Williams’s bold artwork suits the novel’s critique of human-driven gentrification and global capitalism. From retro-influenced designs to hypermodern architecture, the illustrations capture both the timeless nature of Condo Heartbreak Disco’s two main characters, as well as convey the many emotions that punctuate their plight despite their unique appearances. The loose and fluid linework especially complements Komio, whose appearance is reminiscent of a blank canvas that is still able to assume necessary traits at will.
While the ending can be interpreted as uncomfortably bleak, the clear-eyed cynicism warns against the dangers of unexamined complicity. At the same time, it examines how love and affection can weather changing perspectives and priorities—though sometimes not for the better. The choice of a vengeance spirit and a forgotten fertility deity as the central characters becomes even more ironic when juxtapositioned against the frailties of human nature and their effects upon the world.
More than a story of lovers battling to save their home, Condo Heartbreak Disco portrays a Toronto in flux, with old and new coming into immediate conflict. Though the ending raises questions about the ultimate fate of Komio and The Willendorf Braid, it forces a deeper contemplation about the ills of an uncaring modern world.
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