First published by Coach House Press in 1975, The Cage was a graphic novel before there was a name for the medium.
Cryptic and disturbing, it spurns narrative for atmosphere, guiding us through a series of crumbling facades, disarrayed rooms and desolate landscapes, as time stutters backward and forward. Within the cage's barbed-wire confines, we observe humanity only through its traces: a filmic sequence of discarded objects tracking a stuttering and circling time and a sequence of objects — headphones, inky stains, dishevelled bedsheets — scored by a deafening cacophony of breaths, cries and unsettling silence
Considered an early masterpiece of the graphic novel medium, the Canadian cult comic has been out of print for decades in its English version. The new edition includes an introduction by Canadian comics master Seth and a preface by the author to bring Martin Vaughn-James's nightmarish vision to a new generation of readers.
'In the histories of comics in Canada and comics as book–length narratives he played an important and often neglected role. His importance stems not just from the fact that he was a Canadian cartoonist when so few others were out there, or that he created long–form cartoon books when no graphic novel designation yet existed in book stores or libraries. Vaughn–James was also, and remains, a significant figure in comics history because his work was singular, literate, experimental and often unsurpassably good.'
— The Walrus
'It is a masterpiece, demonstrating a level of skill and insight very few have even aspired to in the nearly 40 years since its initial publication ... this work is strongly recommended for every true fan of the graphic arts.'
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
'Recalling the impossible landscapes of M.C. Escher, Vaughn-James's surreal visuals encourage readers to lose themselves. ... With every turn of the page, the eye elides the images, creating a kind of floating, amorphous perspective for this abandoned, erratic, irrational world.'
— Quill & Quire (starred review)
'Time curls in multiple directions. The Cage's settings shudder with rot and then look new again after the turn of a page … Vaughn-James' masterful, disorienting control of temporality is brilliant cartooning, yet it could equally be filed next to Robbe-Grillet's and Alain Resnais' film Last Year at Marienbad, where narrative strolls around a country house.'