Cover image for Mother, come home
Mother, come home
Hornschemeier, Paul, 1977-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Milwaukie, Or. : Dark Horse Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"This volume collects new material along with issues 2-4 of the comic book series Forlorn Funnies, originally published by Absence of Ink"--T.p. verso.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 3.7 1.0 100862.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.1 6 Quiz: 37437 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Graphic Novel Central Library

On Order



With his clean, distinctive art style and poignant storytelling, up-and-coming indie comics sensation Paul Hornschemeier has earned comparisons to and accolades from today's top graphic novelists. Mother, Come Home is Hornschemeier's graphic novel debut-the quietly stunning tale of a father and son struggling, by varying degrees of escapism and fantasy, to come to terms with the death of the family's mother. The story seamlessly weaves through the surreal and the painfully factual, guided by the careful, somber colors and inventive pacing unique to Hornschmeier's storytelling.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Hornschemeier's exceptionally powerful work opens with a man drifting a la Superman in flight, sadly searching for someone, and pursued on the ground by whale-headed figures that try to drag him into an ocean. He is seven-year-old Thomas Tennant's father. His wife, Thomas' mother, has died of cancer, and he is adrift on a sea of grief and guilt. He eventually must go into residential therapy, leaving Thomas with an aunt and uncle. As for Thomas--who, as an adult, narrates the book while, as a child, he is its visual center--under a cape and lion mask that his mother gave him, he has become "the groundskeeper," picking up around the house, taking phone messages, and tending his mother's abandoned garden and her grave. Eventually, Thomas loses his father, too, in a shocking yet inevitable, strangely gentle climax. To portray this intimate emotional drama, Hornschemeier sticks to clean-lined, flat figuration against single-color backdrops; to a palette excluding blue, in which flesh tones and Thomas' blond hair are the brightest hues; and to a straightforward angle of vision, as if the reader were sitting in a theater watching the action on a level stage. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hornschemeier's Forlorn Funnies comics series has been something of an underground hit in art-comics circles. His first book collection is a grimly melancholic domestic tragedy, written from the point of view of a young boy named Thomas who's dealing with the death of his mother by retreating deep into a fantasy world while his father gradually collapses into insanity. Hornschemeier has been compared to Chris Ware, and while the two cartoonists have a few obvious points of similarity-a fondness for flat, muted colors, relentless depressiveness and understated drawing that captures the solidity of objects with a few lines-Hornschemeier has a unique sense of formal invention and a gift for subtleties of facial expressions. The metaphor that drives this work is symbolic logic, both the philosophical kind that obsesses the father and ultimately destroys him, and the logic that Thomas imposes on the baffling world by turning everything into simple symbols, like the lion mask he wears to play at being powerful. Hornschemeier renders Thomas's imaginary reinterpretations of his real life in a different style from the rest of the book: childlike single-line drawings, representing everyone as animals. And the metafictional conceit that frames the book doesn't fully come into focus until the final page. The plot is a real three-hanky weeper, but Hornschemeier leverages some of its heaviness into bittersweet absurdity. He's a talent to watch. (Nov. 2003) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Issues 2, 3, and 4 of the comic series "Forlorn Funnies" are compiled to create Hornschemeier's GN debut chronicling the effects of a woman's death on her husband and son. Switching perspective, time, and metaphysical place, it richly envelops the reader in the fog of loss. Thomas Tennant is a precocious and loving seven-year-old who escapes his grief by being useful: he tends his mother's garden, cleans the house, and takes messages from his father's assistant when his father, a professor, misses lectures. His father escapes by retreating within, becoming isolated from the outside world and barely aware of his son's existence. Hornschemeier shows the utmost compassion for both father and son, who react to their grief the only way they know how. Cinematically written and paced, this truthful, emotionally wrenching work could easily be used as the storyboards and bare-bones script for an incredible film. Each panel tells multiple stories, and multiple reads are required to appreciate their complexity fully. Highly recommended for collections with room for serious indie graphic literature, for teens and adults.-Khadijah Caturani, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Collecting two issues of Hornschemeier's "Forlorn Funnies" series, Mother, Come Home is a stand-alone retrospective tale of family tragedy told by Thomas Tennant, who lost his mother to cancer when he was seven. The story opens after her death, with his professor father struggling to maintain some sense of comfort and equilibrium for himself and his son. Thomas, occasionally donning a superhero cape and lion mask, fights to keep things together by cleaning up after his father, lying to the college when his dad misses yet another class, and tending his mother's garden. Needing more help than his son can provide, the father checks himself into residential care. Forced to move in with an uncle and aunt, Thomas copes by entering a bright, cartoonish fantasy world where everything is how he wants it. His fantasies drive the heart-wrenching climax when he "rescues" his father from the care center. The simplified forms and muted earth tones of the artwork alongside dark and serious themes create links to Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon, 2000), but Hornschemeier wields that rare gift of layered subtlety. Be it an almost imperceptible change in facial expressions or the slow death of a flower, he says significant, moving things in a few panels that would take pages to convey in a novel. But the book's greatest strength is the story itself and the lessons it offers for life, loss, and, most importantly, how to move on.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.