Graphic Novels from Parrish, Seluk, and Silloray | Xpress Reviews

Week ending December 29, 2017

Parrish, Tommi. The Lie and How We Told It. Fantagraphics. Jan. 2018. 130p. ISBN 9781683960676. $24.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Cleary and Tim are old friends who meet by chance while Cleary is working in a grocery store. After her shift, they spend the afternoon drinking, wandering, and discussing their pasts and futures. Although the friendship seems to pick up where it left off, both have changed. Meanwhile, Cleary finds a novella that details the relationship between a stripper and a suburban father. The obvious differences between the characters in the book form a surprising parallel to the growing divide between Cleary and Tim. The artwork is stylized and suits the youthful melancholy of the narrative: figures are distorted with large bodies and limbs and smaller heads, while faces are simplified, and emotions are portrayed through subtle shifts in position and composition. Although the panels are painted in lush hues, they have a sketchy quality that conveys the feeling of being slightly unfinished.
Verdict Parrish (Perfect Hair) explores friendship, sexuality, and self-disclosure in this story that may feel contrived to many readers; however, moments of emotional honesty will resonate with those looking for graphic novels focused on LGBTQIA themes.—E.W. Genovese, Andrew Bayne Memorial Lib., Pittsburgh

starred review starSeluk, Nick. Heart and Brain: Body Language. Andrews McMeel. (Heart & Brain, Bk. 3). Oct. 2017. 144p. ISBN 9781449487126. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781449488567. HUMOR
The heart and the mind are often at odds, with the logical thought processes of the brain attempting to override the emotional decisions of the heart, and vice versa. In this third installment in the “Heart and Brain” series, Seluk (The Awkward Yeti) continues the adventures of the heart and brain in their day-to-day struggles, highlighting how the rational mind does try to accommodate the passionate heart and reminding readers that there is a serious relationship going on inside the human body—and it can be quite funny. These internal battles are illustrated through lovable and humorous comic renditions of the human organs, mainly the heart and brain. Other body parts, such as the gallbladder, the gut, body fat, and the tongue, make hilarious appearances, adding to the work’s variety of wit.
Verdict Large full-page comics make this an easy and fun read that can be picked up or put down at any time. The humor is at times sidesplitting as well as heartwarming. Fans of this series will not be disappointed. Highly recommended for all ages.—Laura McKinley, Huntington P.L., NY

Silloray, Florent. Robert Capa: A Graphic Biography. Firefly. Sept. 2017. 88p. tr. from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger. ISBN 9781770859289. $19.95. BIOG
French author/illustrator Silloray (The Book of Roger) offers a quiet, simmering take on Robert Capa (1913–54), one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. Renowned for his war photography, the Budapest-born artist once said, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” and he lived these words, often crawling in the grass next to soldiers in combat, documenting the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and many other major conflicts. Haunted by these encounters, Capa continued to push himself, seeking to capture the reality of some of the most brutal scenes in history. This biography focuses on the latter half of Capa’s life, beginning with his relationship with Gerda Taro, who was herself a fearless photographer, and ending with Capa’s death while on assignment in Indochina. Throughout, Silloray shows Capa reworking his own image to be successful, struggling with the deaths of loved ones, grappling with the concepts of mortality vs. mediocrity, and making the ultimate sacrifice for his art. Sepia-toned watercolor-washed illustrations, arranged in smaller panel grids, give the work a gritty, dirty look as Capa moves through the dust to get the next shot.
Verdict A fine volume that brings to life a great artist who wanted to show people what was happening in the world around them. For fans of war photography and artist biographies. [Previewed in Douglas Rednour’s “Comics Cross Over,” LJ 6/15/17.]—Ryan Claringbole, Wisconsin Dept. of Pub. Instruction, Madison

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