Active Genital is a story told in pictures and presented as a graphic novel that traces the idealised projection of a child’s development − between the ages of four to twelve − through its struggle with darkness and shadow to its eventual acceptance of love and harmony.
The book is presented in three parts. The first part revisits drawings made by McCail that describe a homelife that at first glance appears somewhat banal, but on further scrutiny reveal a suburban hell of abuse, violence and sex. The second part is a text that recounts a succession of dreams − a recurring theme in McCail’s work − that made a powerful impression on him along with a list of written works that have inspired him. The third part consists of large scale drawings that have been broken down into smaller parts revealing a framework of symbols, icons and characters rendered in the artist’s characteristic graphic style that trace the child’s progress through the world. The limits of this world are the edges of the paper, behind each main event lie many contributing stories where details invade the background spaces as more is remembered and still more is imagined.