I consider myself a graphic novel snob. And I just don't have the time or energy for poorly executed work. Lone Wolf & Cub, Usagi Yojimbo, Maus, Watchmen, the Swamp Thing books, Top 10, Nausicaa, Transmetropolitan, these are the collections you'll find displayed proudly in my living room. Not only is Hicksville in that collection, but it's quickly catching up to Watchmen as the story I've most often loaned out to non-comics readers.
Hicksville is self contained, consistent, and human. I never got into the whole DC/Marvel thing, but Horrocks' enthusiasm for comics history draws you in. And while he plays with that history, he weaves in compelling stories about people which are subtle and adult. Yes "adult", but not in any gratuitous way. Here, it is in the way that we have all experienced life as we get older. Relationships are confusing and sad. Wounds take time to heal. Quests for answers don't always (ever?) work out as we had hoped.
At first I was worried the art was too simple and sketchy. I quickly realized that I had underestimated his style. The frames have a smooth, even flow that carry you with an unhurried pace through the story. As the various threads begin to weave together, the drawings take on much of the burden of storytelling. And frames which don't need any words, don't have any.
You might go back to the beginning the first time you get half way through so you can savor the art and the story before all is revealed. Don't feel bad, his unassuming style (both in drawing and in storytelling) just lowered your guard.
I believe this is a great work.