Saturday, August 28, 2004

Quick GN Reviews

Yossel: April 19, 1943
by Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert, one of the grandmasters of American comics, imagines what his life might have been like had his family not emmigrated to America in 1926 and instead remained behind in Poland. Like his real-life counterpart, the teenage Yossel loves to draw, and his skill in drawing comes in handy; Yossel finds a favored status with the Nazi masters of the Warsaw Ghetto, drawing to amuse them, even as his family and friends are taken off to the Nazi Death Camps. The story ends with the uprising of April 1943, as Yossel uses his favored position to strike back. Yossel's vivid imagination giving him hope even as his story comes to an end. Kubert's prose is not quite up to the task of presenting the story as powerfully as one might hope, but his stunning art more than compensates. Reproduced directly from Kubert's pencils on a rough paperstock that resembles a sketchbook, the drawing are sometimes tight and other times very loose, but always manage to convey the desperation and horror.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

by Pascal Croci
Kazik & Cessia, husband and wife, survived the horrors of Auschwitz but have never spoken to each other of their separate experiences. But nearly 50 years later in war-torn former Yugoslavia they finally share their experiences as death once again closes in. The art manages to be both delicate and raw, done in tight pencils with (I believe) grey wash and some charcoal. Supplementary material in the back places Auschwitz within the greater context of contemporary Holocaust narratives.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

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