A graphic account of the life of Simón Radowitzky, a little-known Ukrainian-Argentine radical.
Radowitzky, a Jew born in Ukraine in 1891, grew up amid a turbulent and violent political landscape during the time of the Cossacks and their pogroms. He was fortunate enough to attend school for a short period, learning to read, something that became a lifelong passion. Eventually, Radowitzky fled the genocide for Buenos Aires to be with his cousin and brother. While in Argentina, he aligned with a band of anarchists and was later imprisoned for assassinating a corrupt military official. Radowitzky’s life in prison (where he was known as Prisoner 155) was filled with beatings, corruption, and mistreatment, but he stayed steadfast to his beliefs. Argentine-born Spanish graphic novelist Comotto (¡Cómo me pica!, 2016, etc.) utilizes an evocative, stark black-and-white palette smattered with visually arresting splashes of a dramatic blood red in his striking line-and-wash illustrations. The narrative moves a bit disjointedly between Radowitzky’s past and present with few visual cues, demanding a close reading. While ample biographical information is provided, there is little overview of the events of the time period, leaving unfamiliar readers to explore on their own. These details aside, Comotto’s work is extremely compelling and a must-read for history aficionados looking for a deep dive into a lesser-known historical figure.
A gripping, albeit ambitious, account of a recondite dissident. (map, postscript, biographical sketches, sources) (Graphic biography. 16-adult)