Learn English with Mr. Wood
Antek, Please Take One Books, 10pgs, $3
Learn English with Mr. Woodis a fragmented, illustrated work of fiction that follows a clerk, the titular Mr. Wood. Through the story of this every man, the zine comments on “the growing mental pressures at the heart of modern society.” See, it seems that there is something wrong with Mr. Wood. He doesn’t seem to be doing sowell, he says so himself. We learn that a recent car accident has affected him deeply, and he isas alienated at home as he is at work..The dialogue and images of this zine are pulled from a vintage English textbook and remixed. Thus the storytelling is quite strange and evasive—it takes a few goes to get used toit. But init’s vagueness it takes up classic modernist themes. The glum tone gets glummer as the bits oftext become a song for the downward spiral of a modestly successful clerk and, ultimately, howhe loses his grip on life.Behind the confusion and personal loss is the absurdity of labour. The zine hums with the theme of endless work piling up, the impossibility of catching up. Mr. Wood, already feeling sickly, gets into an accident, pays to get the car back up and running, and then has to catch up andcontinue the work grind. His world starts to crack as stress piles up. Is this how we want tolive? Is this how our parents were taught the English language? Must we all go mad?