Inspiring, of course…but also a well-told tale, rich alike in intimate moments and momentous historical events.

GANDHI

MY LIFE IS MY MESSAGE

From the Campfire Heroes series

A fictionalized graphic “memoir” conveys bright pictures of the Great Soul’s character and achievements without falling into blind hero worship.

Quinn’s account is written in the first person and includes invented thoughts and dialogue that sometimes have an anachronistic ring. These literary gestures notwithstanding, the author retraces Gandhi’s career accurately and in relatively fine detail from childhood to assassination. More importantly, he also depicts the origins, logic and applications of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent disobedience (satyagraha) in deft, compelling strokes. There is a slight drift toward hagiography in later pages, capped by a reference to Gandhi’s “martyrdom,” but this is balanced by a cleareyed view of his actions as a younger man. He justifies his frequent abandonment of his family with a glib, less-than-saintly “Why should I rob my children of their right to self reliance?” His intelligent wife, Kasturba, will elicit particular sympathy, though she does get in her digs: “Oh yes, go, go, leave us again. We’re used to it.” Along with placing the large blocks of dialogue and narrative so that they’re seldom in the way, Nagar expertly positions panels and figures to create a visual sweep even in relatively static compositions. Action in the art is easy to follow, and scenes of violence are explicit but not disturbingly so.

Inspiring, of course…but also a well-told tale, rich alike in intimate moments and momentous historical events. (quotes, chronology, lists of books, films, websites) (Graphic novel. 11-15)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-93-80741-22-2

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Brutally explicit visuals add immediacy to a serviceable but not exceptional historical overview.

WORLD WAR ONE

1914-1918

From the Campfire History series

Graphic in both senses, a history of the War to End All Wars with a fictional overlay.

The narrative uses the experiences of British Tommy George Smith in the trenches to put a human face on the broader pictures of events in various theaters of the war. It opens with the almost-accidental assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, then goes on to tally land and sea battles, the exploits of T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) and other iconic figures. It covers technological advances, from poison gas to tanks, and distinctive events like the Christmas Truce. George’s bitter judgments of “the generals” who ordered millions of “[y]oung lives thrown away for no real reason” accompany scene after scene of sodden, muddy misery, bullets blasting into soldiers’ bodies and fields strewn with corpses. The war behind the lines and at home is rarely seen, and though other participants occasionally step in for a few panels, the point of view is so Anglocentric that the German and even Russian sides merit barely a glance. Most of the casualty figures and other statistics are buried in the text, and though backmatter includes notes on a Croix de Guerre–winning homing pigeon and other animal “heroes,” there is no index or bibliography.

Brutally explicit visuals add immediacy to a serviceable but not exceptional historical overview. (maps, sheet music) (Graphic fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-93-80741-85-7

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An overstuffed patchwork.

THE COMIC BOOK STORY OF BASEBALL

THE HEROES, HUSTLERS, AND HISTORY-MAKING SWINGS (AND MISSES) OF AMERICA'S NATIONAL PASTIME

A visual history of the game, from playfully imagined early precursors (“Overrunneth not the bag, Prudence!”) to 21st-century feats and follies.

Everything in baseball gets mythologized,” Irvine writes, and accordingly he dishes up scornful dismissals of Abner Doubleday, Babe Ruth’s “called shot,” and even the Cubbies’ “curse of the billy goat” in this overview. Still, he sometimes succumbs to the lure himself, as when he declares Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak “in all likelihood, the most improbable feat in the history of organized sports.” His minute tallies of the comings and goings of leagues and teams and stadiums down the years make arid reading, but even indifferent fans will find his profiles of colorful figures (particularly the “misfits and weirdos”) and their pithy comments (Mantle, on Koufax: “How the f*ck are you supposed to hit that sh*t?”) entertaining. Moreover, his frank acknowledgement of the sport’s racist past as well as worthy if sometimes tone-deaf nods to players in and from Japan and Latin American countries, to women, to Native Americans (in a box headed “Hail to the Chief”), and to select stars of the Negro Leagues add at least some depth to the historical picture. Unfortunately, the story is not shaped into a coherent narrative but presented in fragmentary bits, with many digressions and glances ahead. Shoehorning the text boxes and speech balloons into cramped black-and-white panels only adds to the general disorder.

An overstuffed patchwork. (glossary, index) (Graphic nonfiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-57894-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more