Cover of the collected edition
|Publisher||Black Eye Comics|
Canadian 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.
Horrocks has said of the book: "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."
Batts and a minor character, cartoonist Emil Kopen, both appear in Horrocks' later series Atlas.