Thursday, May 6, 2021

How do you build flexibility? These graphic novels show the way.

A house without windows Draws something difficult with a serene beauty. It blends photography and comics from page to page to illustrate each page’s strengths in serving a destructive subject: the precarious lives of children in the Central African Republic, the former French colony that is one of the world’s poorest countries.

A collaboration between Scottish journalist Mark Ellison, who posed and took photographs for the book, and Central African artist Didier Kasso, whose ink-and-watercolor comics in its narrative, “A House Without Windows”, appear in three chapters , Each focusing on the systemic circumstances brought on by war and communal violence, also on the life experiences of individual children. (It is translated from the French by Nannette McGinness.) Broadly, the first part we find in the streets of the capital Banungi; Second, in diamond mines; And third, in a hospital run by doctors without borders (“Country’s Real Health Service,” book note). A deep focus on resilience and the prospect of the future for young people in the Central African Republic, this hybrid report does not succeed in any small part due to Caso’s elegant drawing.

In a book whose contents are not yet understood – it is chronological, in part the cruelty children face – the Kasoa Movemently Deplorated Effects. This can happen through simple beats of silence that ask a reader to take in the seriousness or scope of the situation (such as a child accused of witchcraft). This can also occur through subtle visual description.

Kasao is a character in the story, similar to Joko’s approach to the creator of comics journalism; Unlike Sacco, he is a calm, steady, reserved presence throughout, often appearing, but very rarely. (Alison lives outside the frame.) In an important scene in the hospital, in the northern city of Cabo, Kasao meets Duaufera, a severely malnourished 7-year-old. The scene opens with a full-page picture of a little boy sitting on the edge of his bed; On the front page, four drawn panels show us our introduction. Two of these are wordless; And we can see that Kasau and Daifurfa quietly move out of the room to a cold place, they are holding hands. (The narrative then gives way to photographs of them drawing together on an outdoor bench.) Their synergy, and Caso’s caring attitude, is clear without any comment.

Speaking of care: Throughout this book, the lack of testimonials can hurt anyone. Many homeless children interviewed by Alison and Kasso describe fleeing due to years of harsh beating by parents and other relatives. “My father never loved me,” says a 13-year-old who goes by the street name “Jack Bauer”. But there are also examples in “A House Without Windows” of overwhelming care, such as the story of a grandmother who brings her grandson to the hospital by bicycle in the middle of the night, unwilling by an armed group that tries to stop him; Or a mother who walks 20 miles on her back with her 3-year-old daughter to get her medical attention.

Condensed with the information, the photos in the book are arresting, while the illustrated parts breathe, and the reader is presumed to struggle with the broader context for the fragility of life so young. (As Marshall McLuhan possesses, photography is a “hot” medium, while comics are a “chill” to which readers invite participation.) “A House Without Windows” is not without snappy moments – its final The part may feel very important – but amidst all this it is a poignant, entertaining text, one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Nate Powell is best known as the cartoonist of the acclaimed “March” trilogy, written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin about Lewis’s life and Lewis’s life during the Civil Rights era. Pavel’s cleverness and style is one of the reasons “March” was successful. Although many graphic autobiographies and historical memoirs inoperative for using the grammar of drama, emotion and shape as well as comics, one can feel their dynamic line and talent, as well as an impasse. Powell’s Save it for Letter: Promises, Paternity, and the Protest’s Urge (Abrams, 160 pp., $ 24.99). A collection dedicated to Lewis opens with the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

Bloomington, Ind. Based on, Powell is well aware of the privilege of his white middle-class family and wants to inspire his two daughters to teach a lesson she learned from the late Georgia congressman. It is an absorbing reflection on intergenerational heritage, based on “save it for later”, despite the unproven subtitles focusing on the future entrusted to America and its children. And it is most fascinating when Pavel turns his gumlet eye on how and why certain images are circulated and circulated as cultural and political symbols.

These include swastikas and iconography derived from flags, especially comics culture, such as Marvel’s ubiquitous skull logo of Punish, which was created for the series in the mid-1970s and was initially taken over by veterans. Powell is a long-time observer of military and paramilitary aesthetics (they are from a southern military family), and a working cartoonist specializing in the power of symbols. One only wishes that his book, which had already been completed in time, could include the visual culture of the Capital Cirque, in which Punish paintings were widespread.

The style is sharper than the above – but the root of the focus on family is not in honesty – Shadow Life (First Second, 368 pp., $ 24.99), A supernatural action story with a mix of humor and social commentary, the role of a grown-up, widowed parent. Writer Hiromi Goto (a Japanese-Canadian novelist) and artist Ain Joo’s protagonist, Kumiko Sato, is depicted on the cover who cleans an ax-like vacuum cleaner; He is fighting to the death, coming too early for him. Kumiko abstains from her assisted living and controlling her three well-meaning but adult daughters. “Shadow Life” has some pretty crazy scenes and final fight scenes with a giant spider. But it is refreshing to sit with thoughts of this rich character as he seeks peace and discovers autonomy.

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