In the Floyd Archives is a cartoon novel (with footnotes!) lightly based on Freud's famous case histories - the Wolf Man, the Rat Man, Dora and Little Hans. But in this wildly inventive comic, the analyst is a bird and his patients are animals too: Wolfman is a passive-aggressive wolf with identity issues, Rat Ma'am, an obsessive-compulsive rat, Lambskin a depressed lamb (or lambskin), and Bunnyman is paranoid.
Review of In the Floyd Archives by Kirkus Book Reviews:
Boxer’s debut graphic novel takes a satirical look at Sigmund Freud by way of anthropomorphic animals who regularly see an avian psychoanalyst.
Mr. Bunnyman enters Dr. Floyd’s office and says that he’s hiding from a wolf that’s chasing him. The doctor believes the wolf is merely a symbol for Mr. Bunnyman’s deeper fears. But later, there’s a Mr. Wolfman at Dr. Floyd’s door who’s questioning his own identity. His father, he says, used to dress him up in lambskin, which he admits that he enjoyed. At his next appointment, Mr. Wolfman, dressed as a lamb, introduces his alter ego, “Lambskin.” Dr. Floyd insists on seeing them separately, so Mr. Wolfman routinely drops off the Lambskin costume at the office. It can talk but not move on its own; the doctor carries her to the couch for therapeutic discourse. Another recent patient is Rat Ma’am, a self-professed thief who fixates on returning a pair of glasses that she says she stole from Dr. Floyd—despite his assertion that he’s still wearing his own spectacles. There’s a bevy of material for the doctor to psychoanalyze, such as Mr. Wolfman’s apparent fear of castration and Lambskin’s discernible limpness. But when the patients’ increasingly complicated lives begin to intersect, it may be a bit too much for even Dr. Floyd to handle. Boxer explains in a preface that although she doesn’t “worship” Freud, neither does she condemn his work. Her book is an endlessly amusing parody of some of Freud’s real-life case histories, including the “Wolf Man” and the “Rat Man,” which Boxer meticulously details in concluding notes. The novel, however, has a hysterically off-kilter tone, particularly when it comes to Dr. Floyd’s literal-mindedness. For example, when Rat Ma’am’s sessions consist of giving the doctor crumbs of information about herself, he complains of the literal crumbs she’s leaving on his couch. Boxer’s line-art illustrations are appropriately stripped down—Dr. Floyd’s office is just a door and a couch—and the squiggly renderings of her characters make them appear animated. A charming, respectful examination of Freud’s work in comic form.