This little four issue mini is the first batch of comics I've ever read from now defunct publisher First Comics. My first impression after reading through the beautiful 100+ pages of trippy storytelling is that this really felt like a Vertigo title. It could have just as easily been written by Moore, Morrison, or Gaiman. Instead, I was surprised to see it was written by a freelance technical writer by the name of Stefan Petrucha. This gives me hope that someday I can break into the comics writing business as I have now seen someone from my profession jump into the comics writing world (even if said world is from 1989).
Squalor is the tale of a man who has supposedly discovered "A-time". A-time is is our reality minus linear time. Basically it's a neat way of saying that he can jump into the fourth dimension. In the first couple of issues you're left wondering if he is really someone capable of something superhuman or if he's simply crazy. There's notions that lead you to believe both such as the facts that he was previously institutionalized and often talks in rants that have no bearing on reality, yet he can at times know exactly what you are thinking and can predict the immediate future.
The art helps lend to the questioning of Squalor's sanity or superpowers. The best way to describe many of the images would be to simply say that this might have been how Salvador Dali would have made comics if given the chance... and a little more sanity.
There are truly some wonderful images and metaphors to be found throughout this series. One such moment is a series of panels where a gigantic clown, while conversing with Squalor, detaches his head and dives into his neck and upon completely engulfing himself inside of Squalor, the disembodied head reattaches itself and Squalor returns to reality.
The only drawback to the story is the ending. The last issue doesn't contain as many of the odd, crazy moments as the first three and as the pieces start to fall together, the conclusion of the story doesn't seem as creative as the interesting world of "A-time" and Squalor's adventures in craziness in the beginning of the series. However, this series still trumps most current comics in terms of creativity and mental stimulation. In fact, it's series such as this that helps reinforce my belief that there are good comics to be found in all those back issue bins out there. Do yourself a favor and dig this one up and give it a read.