Weighing in at 700+ pages, we're pretty sure this one surpasses Craig Thompson's Blankets as the longest unserialized graphic novel ever published in the US. Just think: over 700 pages of far out and freaky graphic storytelling that you've never laid eyes on before -- and neither had we... until we sat down (after getting together a solid supply of food and drink to sustain us) and read this hefty tome. Where to start? Well, first off is the fact that the book took over two years to draw, is divided into three sections (each of which you are advised by the author to take a break after reading -- although we have to admit that we ignored this warning and plowed straight through), is printed in brown ink on 6" x 9" white paper, and tells the tale of the Loony family, in particular Peter Loony. It begins with the line, "There are many types of sand." Some 700 pages later the urge to compare this book to Blankets was, at least for us, irresisitable. Like Blankets, Bottomless Belly Button is also a deeply personal work of catharsis that takes the form of a long, involved book that tells the tale of an introverted artist struggling with the emotional baggage he has been weighed down with by his family and who, in his effort to move ahead, gets involved with an extroverted, more sexually experienced girl. But, while the general narrative arc of these two works may have much in common, the specifics are different in almost every particular. The setting here is a hot and sunny beach, the exact opposite of the icy cold snowy north woods of Blankets. The sexual episodes in BBB are presented as being (at least somewhat) perverse and unsettling, as opposed to the rhapsodic and fulfilling scenes of sexual congress in Blankets. BBB is intellectual and analytical where Blankets is lyrical and expressive. The crucial difference lies in the attention given to the other family members. In BBB, while the protagonist is alienated from his family from the word go, the family itself is given much, much more attention here than in Blankets, with each family member being given a fully fleshed out portrait and their own set of challenges. While the protagonist may be alienated from his family, the creator of this work, Dash Shaw, certainly has quite a bit of empathy for all actors in his drama, and as a result the reader comes away from BBB with a surprisingly strong sense of each member of the supporting cast and, crucially, how they all fit together as a family. In the final analysis, BBB is more about probing the mystery of the family than it is a rite of passage tale, and so, really, is not so much like Blankets after all.