DISTRICT COMICS by Matt Dembicki


An Unconventional History of Washington, DC
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Age Range: 10 - 18
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Editor Dembicki's (Trickster, 2010) latest collection is an anthology of illustrated stories and vignettes from Washington D.C.'s colorful past.

Spanning the birth of the capital to 2009, this collection unearths vivid moments from the District's history. These moments include anecdotes, such as one about James Hampton's religious art made from garbage in Andrew Cohen's "Dark Was the Night," as well as deeper looks at specific moments in history. One such can be found in Rebecca Goldfield and Paul W. Zdepski's "Taps," an in-depth look at the bugle player from John F. Kennedy's funeral and at the mourning of the nation. The storytelling and art styles vary greatly, with stand-out uses of the graphic form found in Michael Rhode and Kevin Rechin's comical and cartoonish take on the Army Medical Museum ("Not Such a Collection as the Timid Would Care to Visit at Midnight") and in Peter S. Conrad's spy drama "Karat." While there is the occasional misstep—stories with too much exposition or not enough context—weaker pieces are easily compensated for by the more successful, such as Grant Jeffrey Barrus and Jacob Warrenfeltz's "Rolling Thunder," a tribute to Vietnam veterans told in a past/present narrative with dual, monochromatic palettes and a huge emotional punch. This anthology is marked by style consistently well matched to substance in a vast range of topics.

A well-rounded collection of stories with something for everyone, sure to inspire readers to research the full history of their favorites. (editor's note, contributors) (Graphic historical fiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-55591-751-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Fulcrum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2012


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