Hicksville (comics)

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Hicksville (comics)
Cover of the Drawn and Quarterly collected edition
Creator Dylan Horrocks
Date 1998
Publisher Black Eye Comics
Original publication
Published in Pickle
Issues 1-10
Date of publication 1993 – Dec. 1996
Language English
ISBN 9781770460027 (softcover)

Hicksville is a graphic novel by Dylan Horrocks originally published by Black Eye Comics in 1998.

Publication history[edit]

Much of Hicksville was serialized in Horrocks' 10-issue solo series Pickle, published by Black Eye from 1993–1996. The collected edition, which featured much redrawn art,[1] was released by Black Eye in 1998, shortly before the company went out of business. Hicksville was republished by fellow Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly in 2001 and again in 2010. In 2010 the graphic novel was republished by New Zealand publisher Victoria University Press.

Hicksville has been translated into Spanish, Italian, German, French (L'Association) and Croatian (Fibra).


Canadian-American writer Leonard Batts arrives in the tiny New Zealand town of Hicksville to research the early life of Dick Burger, whose work has taken the comic book industry by storm. He finds that Hicksville is a town in which everyone from the postman to the farmer is an expert on comics, yet everyone seems to hate Burger. The novel explores the machinations of the comic book industry, and contains a fictionalized account of the history of mainstream American comics, with particular attention paid to the era of Image Comics. Most of the characters are comic creators, and many of their strips are reproduced in full as part of the story, most notably Sam Zabel's extensive account of moving to Los Angeles in order to work with Burger, which he documents in his self-published comic Pickle (the title of the Dylan Horrocks series in which the storyline was actually published).

Horrocks has said of Hicksville: "It's a story about comics—their history and poetry—and also about what we New Zealanders call 'tūrangawaewae'—having a place to stand in the world—a kind of spiritual home. Hicksville is my way of creating such a home for comics."[2]


Hicksville's characters include normal (albeit fictional) humans from our world, and comic book characters (all actually created by Horrocks) who appear in various publications interwoven into the pages of the graphic novel.

Human characters[edit]

Leonard Batts — a Canadian-American comics critic for the fictional Comics World Magazine. He previously published a book on Jack Kirby called The King: Jack Kirby: a Biography and has come to Hicksville in search of information about Dick Burger's origins.

Dick Burger — a cartoonist, originally an orphan from Hicksville who now lives in Los Angeles, who has built a mainstream comics empire, mainly based on his revival of Captain Tomorrow and other characters. He controls Eternal Comics.

Grace Pekapeka — a Hicksville resident and former lover of both Dick Burger and Danton. An avid gardener, she spent many years working at the Crieste Botanic Institute. She makes a connection with Kornukopija artist Emil Kópen. She appears at the Hogan's Alley bonfire as Milena, the heroine of Kopen's Valja Domena.[3]

Emil Kópen — Kornukopija's greatest living cartoonist, who "represents the power of cartooning as pure art."[3]

Sam Zabel — an indy cartoonist and creator of the autobiographical comic book series Pickle (as well as a former contributor to Laffs magazine). Sam is originally from Hicksville, where he grew up with Dick Burger.

Sally – Sam's love interest and eventually, his wife

Danton — a Hicksville resident, he is owner and manager of The Rarebit Fiend tea room.

Huck — a Hicksville resident and frequent customer of The Rarebit Fiend.

Famer Dobbs — a farmer from Hicksville with a dog.

Mrs. Hicks — proprietor of the Hicksville Book Shop and Lending Library, which stores an amazing collection of rare and unusual comics from all over the world.

Harry — Hicksville's postman and an avid comics fan.

Kupe — resident and caretaker of Hicksville's lighthouse, as well a secret library of "culturally and spiritually" valuable comics.[3]

Cincinnati Walker — an American actress who develops an interest in Sam Zabel. She plays Lady Night in the Captain Tomorrow film series.

Mort Molson — creator of the Golden Age Captain Tomorrow.

Lou Goldman — creator of the Golden Age Lady Night.

Comic book characters[edit]

Captain Tomorrow — a Golden Age superhero created by Mort Molson, who has been revived as a much darker figure in the 1990s.

Lady Night — a Golden Age superhero created by Lou Goldman, who has been revived as a much darker figure in the 1990s.

The Captain — an explorer.

Hone Heke — a Maori man and "sidekick" to The Captain.

Moxie & Toxie — a male & female cartoon duo created by Sam Zabel.

Subsequent work[edit]

Batts and a minor character, cartoonist Emil Kopen, both appear in Horrocks' later series Atlas.


Hicksville was nominated for Ignatz Awards for Best Graphic Novel & Best Art, and a Harvey Award for Best Reprint Collection. The French edition was nominated for two Prix d’Alph’Arts for Best Graphic Novel & the Prix de la critique ("Critic's Prize"). The foreign editions were nominated for an Attilio Micheluzzi Award for Best Graphic Novel, and the Best Foreign Comic at the Barcelona Comics Festival. It was named one of the top five books of 1998 by The Comics Journal.[4]


  1. ^ Hicksville: a Comic Book (Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2001): "Portions of this story appeared in a slightly different form in the periodical 'Pickle' from issues 1-10."
  2. ^ Lemon, Craig. "Dylan Horrocks: The First Name In Magic," Comics Bulletin (November 3, 2000). Archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c Beaty, Bart and Benjamin Woo. "Hicksville, by Dylan Horrocks," in The Greatest Comic Book of All Time: Symbolic Capital and the Field of American Comic Books (Springer, 2016), pp. 134-138.
  4. ^ Kreiner, Rich. "Books of the Year: Prime Location; Umlimited View; Must See to Believe: Hicksville," The Comics Journal #211 (Apr. 1999), pp. 13-16.

External links[edit]