Wow! Get ready for a visual feast like none other. At last we have a follow-up to Capacity, Ellsworth's phenomenal Secret Acres debut. The Understanding Monster is a full color, full size, hardcover filled with page after page of Ellsworth's trademarked, hyper-detailed, graphomaniacal renditions of psychological states that take the forms of animals, insects, monsters and ingenious, crypto-mechanical constructions that wander through a series of dreamscape interiors. During an SPX panel this month, Ellsworth was asked who his favorite artist was, and when he replied that it was Adolf Wölfi – the original outsider artist, who spent his life creating an imaginary world in words and pictures – it was an "ah-ha!" moment. Theo Ellsworth is himself very much of this mold and has gone quite a way towards creating a highly complex and detailed imaginary world of his own. Ellsworth's work will have a strong appeal to anyone who has had cause to feel shut out and so become shut in to worlds of thought and imagination – a state which a significant section of those within the comics culture must certainly have experienced at one time or another. The story of The Understanding Monster is told in a sequence of mirrorings, transformations, translations, inversions, subversions, diversions and confusions that veer from abreaction and self-sabotage to resolution and redemption. As the narrative gradually unfolds, it reveals a private internal code simultaneously to both the reader and the protagonist – a strategy which plants the protagonist's challenges navigating reality in the center of the reader's consciousness. This makes for a seriously disorienting experience which demands a large degree of empathy on the part of the reader, who is required to play a crucial part in the process of assembling the machinery of meaning as the narrative unfolds. Theo Ellsworth's comics create a fantastic fully formed world that readers will find themselves completely immersed in before they know it.