Author Archives: Tony

Native Son by Richard Wright

I usually do not like recommending books to the average stranger, because my tastes, though wide, are more precise as I age. But I’m telling you, EVERYONE should read these two books NOW!  Native Son (1940) is a work of fiction that astounds me.

For years I have wanted to read Wright but never got around to it. In my twenties, I read a handful of Black authors and liked them but became a little burned out on the subject, much like telling a talker, “OK, I get it.”

Well, as I aged, I learned a lot about how things work and how people are, and about how I am. I am a white male. And as I became older and wiser, I discovered I had racist issues as is expected, since society is full of racism. My racism wasn’t hatred or feelings of inequality, but such that I bought into a lot of stereotypes that society threw at me.

Recently, I’ve gotten into a writer, Nelson Algren, who was a close friend with  Wright. They met at the Federal Writer’s Project in Chicago, and this gave Wright the time and money to produce Native Son.  Both were “Communists” in the 30’s and 40’s. Both experienced life from the bottom of society. Native Son, as well as Algren’s early novels, delves deeper into the intricate ways that the top and middle of American society preys upon its poor and black people than any work of fiction that I have read.

It is an exceptional novel that begins with high drama and is able to sustain the climax for the entire novel. The protagonist is Bigger Thomas, a 20 year old African-American male, who at his mother’s urging gets a real job. He is a young “thug” surviving by stealing and using his wits. Wright intentionally makes him a stereotypical thug for effect. If Bigger is an acceptable young man, who fit into society, it would be easy for everyone to let him pursuit the “American Dream.” But Bigger is trapped in 1930’s society in Chicago slums. The Jim Crow effects reach northward in more subtle ways, but they are not subtle if you are black. Bigger was not allowed to be an AMERICAN. He was only a “Negro Nationalist” living in America. Bigger was unwanted by his OWN PEOPLE and “his” country of birth.

Bigger knows how to survive in a tough black reality. He is exceptionally smart and can figure out the con in every game. But all he knows of the white world is to avoid it. It is ok to rob a black liquor store, but not a white one. He knows the Cops will come down on you hard if you mess with white folks.

So the real action begins when Bigger gets a job as a chauffeur for a rich, white family.  One night out with the beautiful daughter (Mary) of this rich man, and her Communist boyfriend (Jan) forces Bigger to cross many boundaries he doesn’t want to. He soon learns that one small action can change  the lives of many. We are all interconnected in a very simple, yet complex way although we seem all separate from one another.

If I had to give one book to Middle School to College aged people to read, Native Son is the one. The language is so simple and Wright makes the complex ways of interconnectedness so clear than everyone can see.  This modern world is made to make us a cold money making machine. And we roll along with this machine as it grinds out human lives beneath it.

To some, who are not willing to open their minds, it may feel that white people are on trial here but it is more that society is on trial. Individuals only make up a tiny part of it. But individuals and their actions can shape the world at large. In groups, we go easily along with what is inhumane in society.

The great baseball player Curt Flood, speaking about The St. Louis Cardinals owner August Busch, who was astonished to learn that black players could not stay at white hotels during spring training, said: “It shows you how you can segregate yourself into the back seat of a limousine and not know what’s going on.”  In the novel, the wealthy Mr. Dalton is one that rolls along with it. He is a great philanthropist and supporter of black people but he also had made his wealth in real estate at black people’s expense.

There is an innocent intelligence to the main character Bigger Thomas. He knows what is going on, but not quite. His survival in his black world is much different than his trying to stay alive in the white world. The rules are much different.  He learns as he goes. Experience is his teacher. In the end, what Bigger (and the reader) has to learn goes SOUL DEEP. It speeds by all the rules of civilization. The REDS, the WHITES, and the BLACKS are all weighing on Bigger’s mind wanting something from him that he cannot give. He is truly an outsider who must face a reality he could never have imagined.

Another book that I highly suggest is The Fire Next Time (1962), a work of non-fiction by James Baldwin, an adversary of Richard Wright. It is very enlightening, collecting two Letters, written during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.  Each Letter looks frankly at the state of American race relations from the black perspective, as well as Baldwin’s personal history.

It was a suggestion offered by a Facebook friend, who said it should be taught in school. It did not disappoint me. In fact, it inflamed me even though it is 55 years old.

We have both books in three different formats. I used all three with both books. I read both the Hardcover versions, the eBook (when around a computer), and listened to the Audiobook as well.  I usually have a hard time following along with an audio version but both books were a joy to listen to. The Native Son CD is beyond excellent.

Reviewed by Tom, Main Library

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One is a fun and thoroughly enjoyable romp across the world both real and virtual in the year 2044.  For those of us that grew up during the 1980’s, it is also a very nostalgic romp full of references to things such as Rubik’s Cubes, Pac Man games and 80’s movies. In addition, if you are a fan of the Canadian rock band Rush as I am, you are in for a treat!!!

Ready Player One is set in the not so distant future. It’s the year 2044 and the world isn’t a good place. Reality is so bad for most people that they experience their lives mostly through their avatars in an online virtual world called OASIS. A unique opportunity arises when James Halliday — the 1980’s obsessed computer guru that created OASIS — dies and lets the world know that he has left a series of puzzles that lead to an Easter Egg in OASIS. Whoever solves the puzzles and finds the Easter Egg first wins the ultimate prize…Halliday’s massive fortune and control of his corporation.

In Halliday’s video will that was released upon his death, he left a clue:

“Three hidden keys open three secret gates

Wherein the errant will be tested for worthy traits

And those with the skill to survive these straits

Will reach The End where the prize awaits.”

Halliday also left a clue in a book he wrote that contained a puzzle to help people know where to begin hunting for the first clue.

“The Copper Key awaits explorers

In a tomb filled with horrors

But you have much to learn

If you hope to earn

A place among the high scorers.”

Our hero — Wade Watts, AKA Parzival — is a student and like countless others, has been obsessed for years with trying to solve the puzzle that Halliday left. The ‘gunters’ (shortened version of egg hunters) teach themselves about 1980’s movies, pop culture and video games to better equip themselves for solving the puzzles. It has been years since Halliday’s death and still no one has solved the first part of the puzzle. Parzival suddenly makes a connection and figures out the location of where to begin the quest. As he solves the first puzzle and gets the first key, he appears on the Scoreboard which attracts the attention of the whole world. He embarks upon a deadly, epic quest to solve the puzzles along with many others who are close at his heels.

Will he get there in time? Read and find out!!!

— Review by Marci, Fairdale

Indie Author Day at the Library

Indie Author Day

Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Join us at the South Central Regional Library for a celebration of local Indie authors and learn about IndieLou, the suite of services available from the Library that helps authors create, share, and promote their works.

Here’s the event roster:

1:00-4:00 PM: Local Author Marketplace

1:30-2:30 PM: Panel discussion with four local authors:
Amy Metz, Tytianna Wells-Smith, Bill Noel, and Atty Eve

3:00-4:00 PM: Memoir Writing Workshop by Kimberly Crum, MSW, MFA

Location: 

South Central Regional Library

7300 Jefferson Blvd.
LouisvilleKY 40219
Phone: 502-964-3515 

 Map    RSS Feed

In Defense of Comics, pt. 5: Understanding Comics as a discussion tool

The biggest problem when discussing comics in an analytical way is determining just what they are. It is easier to talk about how they work than to come up with a solid definition, other than the old “I know a comic when I see it” one.  This is particularly true if you wish the definition to cover most (if not all) expressions of comics.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, a classic work of the Comics Studies discipline, defined comics as:

“Juxtaposed pictoral and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.”

In one of the Graphic Novel Discussion Group‘s meetings, McCloud’s definition elicited respect on one level but was hard to defend in toto when combined with some of his other assertions. For instance, his general assertion that writing (the act of inscribing thought in physical space) is distinctly non-pictorial in nature seems hard to defend considering there is a whole species of design – graphic design – that considers writing as a pictorial element (a.k.a. typography). Even within the comics industry, the position of “letterer” has been a long established one and the style of each letterer is often a strong consideration for the development of a particular work’s look.

McCloud violates his own rejection of a single panel as comic (which is asserted on pages 20-21 of Understanding Comics) on page 98 in the third and fourth panels. Granted, he hedges in the next two panels by differentiating between captions and word balloons but I think that’s because the narration is supposed to be framing the picture rather than a part of the world of the picture.  However, it is the introduction of speech and that speech takes time to happen that creates the sequential effect according to McCloud.

His distinction that in-picture indication of sound introduces sound as a narrative element — and thus changes things — doesn’t seem to add up as traditional forms of comics are a species of visual art. How such a sound is conveyed is part of the storyteller’s visual style, most clearly seen in the crafting of sound effect (think of the shape of letters used when you are to hear lightning or a punch to the jaw). Speech or audible sound is still an aspect of the story supplied by the reader’s mind, prompted by the images on the page (be they words or sound effects).

[Cartoon by Bil Keane (copyright holder King Features Syndicate), Fair Use]

So with Family Circus, it is clear that the words are actually speech that takes place in the world of the comic. Really, Bil Keane‘s quotes below the panel are just him avoiding using a word bubble. Maybe this is for sound commercial reasons (designated space on the page), for reasons of composition (to preserve the close-up shot feeling of the panel), or simply for reasons of style.

Further, McCloud misses that there is essentially an unbound panel of text next to the panel with obvious borders that has a picture. (At least) two panels = sequence, no? Here the mind moves from one kind of visual element (pictures) to another (type) and creates a connection, right? This would also apply to the sixth panel on p. 98 (if you ignore that there is no “gutter” – or gap – between the picture and the box with text).

During the discussion, I personally foundered when trying to separate the art of comics from other arts that use sequential methods/techniques. It’s not that I can’t get behind the idea that they are all just parts of “Art” or human communication – a position vigorously defended by a particular participant – but it seems like that kind of flattens out what makes comics differ(ent). Because when I talk about Watchmen, for instance, I don’t think it would be germane to bring in references to the methods of dance or sculpture or broadcast radio.

Part of it to me is that comics are the product of a particular technology, printing. And, as Marshall McLuhan wrote, “the medium is the message.” (1964) Because comics are creatures of print, our eye works a certain way, time is controlled more by how we read than by some static rate of delivery (such as television or radio), and a certain set of senses (sight and touch) are more dominant than others (smell, taste, and hearing).

I was especially flummoxed when asked about animation. My instinct is to treat animated works differently than more realistic film, to include them directly with comics. But animation is film and any distinction there is really just my own (or a general cultural) bias. They work by static broadcast, by use of light that is projected rather than ambient, and incorporate sound directly rather than by visual approximation (sound effect words, sound motion lines, etc.).

And what you would call Building Stories by Chris Ware?  Is it an architectural comic?  A comic box set?  An elaborate game with intricate pictures? A piece of conceptual art?

These distinctions seem a little silly on the surface but they do matter for no other reason than that of marketing. Being able to determine what to call something often guides the producer towards a target audience (and vice versa). If Building Stories is a work of architecture then it will be sold to schools of architecture and design. If it is just a  comic then it will be sold at places where comics are sold. If it is a game then it will be sold at gaming shops. And if it is a work of conceptual art, there might be an installation at some fine art gallery.

But back to Understanding Comics and the discussion it engendered.  One of the participants in this discussion commented that he thought that McCloud was at his best when he was discussing the nuts and bolts of comic structure (e.g., explaining things such as conveyance of time via panels and the structuring of a story via panel placement) and also when explaining the artistic level of abstraction used to carry the story (e.g., highly detailed art for personal narratives versus pictographic expression for symbolic works). He thought that McCloud failed to really differentiate comics distinctly from visual art as a whole but that his presentation feels inspiring if one doesn’t dig too deeply, echoing an argument that Dylan Horrocks leveled at McCloud in his essay, “Inventing Comics.” (2001)

Horrocks feels that McCloud is writing more of a persuasion piece, which he deems a “polemic.” [As an aside, this feels like a mild misuse of the term as “polemic” tends to refer to a vigorous disputation of an argument rather than mounting a defense for – or presenting a supporting argument for – a position.] Further, that McCloud is trying to build a justification for comics as serious art, thereby uplifting the community of comic readers from their previous status as scruffy-looking nerf herders. Doing so comes by way of a definition (highlighted in red above) that excludes many other things that comics could be said to be without discussing why those exclusions make sense.

“Nation building,” as Horrocks calls this effort, seems kind of quaint nearly a quarter of century after the book’s first edition. In the intervening time, comics, comic nerds, and comic fans of all stripes have garnered the respect that McCloud was working towards. Comics are regular parts of academic studies and art galleries, and receive high-toned collections of previous works. Comic fans come from increasingly diverse backgrounds and feel no shame in hiding their passions. Comic industry insiders find that their work no longer traps them in the lower ends of the publishing industry.

And while I tend to like the basic idea, I also have felt the need to add a little meat to McCloud’s definition in this series of essays about comics by mentioning both cultural and historical factors that also have made comics what they are today. Even so, I feel like I am still very, very far off getting to just what makes a comic a comic. However, Understanding Comics did give our discussion a great starting place, and my sense of what is a comic was altered through that discussion. For that alone, I would recommend the book for anyone who wants to explore these questions.

Plus, it’s a fun read!


If you are interested in discussing these titles or other works of sequential art, please join LFPL’s Graphic Novel Discussion Group. Meetings are held at the Main Library on the second Monday of every month, starting at 6:00 PM.

At our next meeting (October 9th), we will be talking about Monster Comics!

Are You A Fan?

Random Fandom is returning on

Saturday, September 23, 2017, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Let your geek flag fly!

This day-long convention of all things fandom returns to the Southwest Regional Library.

Join us for a day of child, adult, and family programming, vendors, gaming, food trucks, and contests.

Register at the door, or go to www.lfpl.org/RandomFandom to sign up online.

Location: 

Southwest Regional Library

9725 Dixie Highway
LouisvilleKY USA 40272
Phone: 502-933-0029
Website: Click to Visit

A Girl, a Mission, and a One-way Journey: A Review of Mars One by Jonathan Maberry

Tristan and Izzy have been in love since middle school. They have always known that there was an ending date stamped on their romance that loomed ahead of them. Since he was twelve, Tristan knew he and his parents were going to be part of a mission that will take them away from Earth forever as part of the small group of people who were going to colonize Mars.

Reality television has pulled out all the stops to capitalize on the teen’s romance, drawing on the legend of star-crossed lovers Tristian and Isolde. Tristian and Izzy’s romance has humanized the mission and touched the heart of millions in a way none of the other publicity has done. With all the world’s eyes on the Mars Project, they have become the darlings of reality television, much to their chagrin.

Tristian and Izzy only agreed because the money they would receive could give Izzy opportunities for college and a better life when Tristian was gone. As for Tristian, some of his share would be divided between the needs of the mission and a trust set up on Earth to help others in need. But the mission isn’t all glory and celebration for there are those on Earth who would see it ended before the colonists leave the planet.

NeoLuddite radicals want the mission to Mars scrapped, even if that means killing the colonists. They also strike against Izzy in hopes of grabbing attention and rocking the confidence of the mission. News breaks that China has also been planning a trip to Mars with their own group of colonists. Another concern is who will reach the red planet first and what will that mean for their voyage?

Then someone aboard starts sabotaging life support functions on the ships. Now in deep space the colonists must find the saboteurs before it is too late.  Who are the terrorists among them? Where will they strike next? Will any of the ships and their crew make it to Mars?

This tale of space exploration, mystery, and danger is told through Tristian’s eyes, following his courtship and separation with Izzy, the grueling training, and finally the voyage of no return. A genius in engineering, he can take anything apart and put it back together in record time. At this point, it will take all of his skills, ability with machines, and ingenuity to help make this mission a success and save the people he cares about. Filled with scientific facts and supposition about how a journey like this might become reality, especially if we continue to deplete our limited resources without finding other solutions.

In my opinion, at the heart of Mars One are two strong young teens that grow to love each other, grow apart, and go their separate ways, all while keeping their memories of each other alive. In the end, they use their love to leave something wonderful behind.

Format Available: Book, eBook

Review by Katy, Shawnee Branch

South Central Regional Library is Now Open

The Okolona Branch has moved and is now the South Central Regional Library

 | 7300 Jefferson Boulevard, Louisville, Kentucky 40219 | (502) 964-3515 |

The new 40,000-square-foot South Central Regional Library is now open.The state-of-the-art facility replaces the considerably smaller Okolona branch library and enhances service for more than 160,000 people in south central Jefferson County. Filled with new books and cutting edge technology, the library is a place that encourages learning at all stages of life.

The South Central Regional Library is an awe-inspiring space, with an abundance of natural light and incredible views of more than an acre of preserved woodland. The building also offers two large community meeting rooms, several smaller rooms for studying, reading, or collaborating, a dynamic space for teens, and an expanded children’s area. This new regional library is also outfitted to serve the area’s technology needs, with more than 100 computers, a maker space, and LFPL’s first laptop checkout kiosk. And, of course, it offers more than 120,000 books, DVDs, and other materials!


Hours

  • Monday – Thursday: 9 – 9
  • Friday and Saturday: 9 – 5
  • Sunday: 1 – 5

Directions

The South Central Regional Library is located at 7300 Jefferson Boulevard at McCawley Road near the Jefferson Mall.

From I-65 – Take exit #127 for the Outer Loop. Head east on Outer Loop for about two miles.  At light located at the intersection of Outer Loop and Jefferson Blvd., turn left.  Once on Jefferson Blvd., go about a half mile. The library is on the left, next to the post office.

From 265 — Snyder Freeway – Take exit #10 for I-65 north. Go about one and a half miles to exit #127 for the Outer Loop.  Head east on Outer Loop for about two miles.  At light located at the intersection of Outer Loop and Jefferson Blvd., turn left.  Once on Jefferson Blvd., go about 1/2 mile. The library is on the left, next to the post office.

From 264 — Watterson Expressway – Take 264 to the I-65 South exit (#12).  Go about 4 miles until you get to exit #127 for the Outer Loop.   Head east on Outer Loop for about two miles.  At light located at the intersection of Outer Loop and Jefferson Blvd., turn left.  Once on Jefferson Blvd., go about 1/2 mile. The library is on the left, next to the post office.

From Outer Loop, east of Preston, Jefferson Mall area – Head west on Outer Loop toward I-65. At light located at the intersection of Outer Loop and Jefferson Blvd., turn left.  Once on Jefferson Blvd., go about 1/2 mile. The library is on the left, next to the post office.

From Fern Valley Road – Head south on Preston Highway. Go approximately 1 1/2 mile to the intersection of Preston Highway and the Outer Loop.  Turn left onto Preston Highway and head east on for about two miles.  At light located at the intersection of Outer Loop and Jefferson Blvd., turn left.  Once on Jefferson Blvd., go about 1/2 mile. The library is on the left, next to the post office.


COLLIDER Artist-In-Residence Program

South Central also includes another first for LFPL, an artist-in-residence space called COLLIDER, made possible through generous funding from Councilwoman Madonna Flood. This new programming space will feature rotating artists throughout the year with whom patrons can interact, both informally and at regularly occurring programs. Click here to learn more.


 History

Though memories have been handed down through the years of bookshelves in stores where one could “borrow” to read, the first official library in Okolona was established in 1958 in the Okolona Community Center (which later became the Okolona Woman’s Club on Blue Lick Road). Mrs. Stanley Williams was the first librarian, with the able assistance and direction of Ms. Mary Morgan, librarian at Southern High School. Okolona Woman’s Club members manned the facility that started with 800 donated books.

Growth demanded a move to Southern High School, and from there the library moved to quarters in a mobile unit in the shopping center across from Southern. In 1985 a new library was constructed at 8003-R Preston on property donated by Cumberland Bank. Growth then demanded another move . . . this time when places were exchanged with the Jefferson County Police and Employees Credit Union at 7709 Preston.

Still located in Okolona, this latest move also comes with a name change: the South Central Regional Library. This new, modern regional library is more than four times larger than the previous location. A spectacular quilt made by the Okolona Women’s Club is on permanent display in the new South Central and showcases the history and community pride of Okolona.

 

PotterPalooza

PotterPalooza will be returning to the Library on Saturday, July 29, 2017, 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Welcome back to the wizarding world, brought to you by the wizards and witches of the LFPL!

This FREE event will feature activities geared toward younger kids from 2-5 p.m., and activities for older kids (and teens and adults) from 6-8 p.m. (though there will still be activities going on in the in-between period of 5-6).

Get ready to:

  • play Quidditich
  • get sorted into your house
  • explore the Restricted Section of the library’s hidden stacks
  • fly on a broomstick
  • create your own niffler
  • take classes on Astronomy, Herbology, and Potions
  • explore a museum of muggle artifacts
  • make a wand
  • cast a spell
  • drink butterbeer
  • and do so much more!

Costumes are encouraged!

All ages welcome.

Location: 
Main Library
301 York Street

LouisvilleKY 40203

Phone: 502-574-1611

 


If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Dawn Cobb with the Friends of the Library at dawncobb2010@gmail.com with your name, the branch you are associated with, and the time that you will be able to attend.

Waking in Time by Angie Stanton

If you have ever been curious about time travel, check out this tale that travels back to the past and into the future.  If you like a bit of a mystery, dig into this story. And, if you like romantic tales read Waking in Time by Angie Stanton.

Angie Stanton started with an old photo of a young woman named Ruby and some sketchy information. Anyone who had known Ruby’s story had long ago passed away. So, armed with only a few facts and the photo, Ms. Stanton decided to create a story for Ruby and solve the mystery of why Ruby spent a short stint in a convent when she wasn’t Catholic. Within each time period explored, there is a sense of what it was like to be a young woman of the period, complete with certain social restrictions and fashion styles.

Abbi (the protagonist based on Ruby) isn’t stopped from standing up to the prejudices of a woman’s place, falling in love, and digging for answers in some odd places.  Following her grandmother’s last request to attend her alma mater, University of Wisconsin Madison, was the easy part. The other part of the dying plea was just plain weird. Abbi had promised to “find the baby.” But what baby?

Thinking her grandmother’s mind had been wandering at the end, Abbi put it out of her mind. That is, until the morning after her first night at college when she woke up in the year 1983, more than 30 years in the past. In her travels in time, Abbi meets two men at earlier times in their lives. One is a professor of physics (Smitty) and the other is a young man from the 1920’s who had traveled forward in time (Will). Each is a part of the frustrating puzzle since, both Smitty and Will have information from the past they can’t or won’t share with her. Abbi also meets others along the way and learns more about herself and her family.

But, if they ever hoped to end this strange time travel nightmare Abbi and Will had to solve the mystery of why this was happening. Did she really want to return to her own time if it meant losing Will, who Abbi had grown to care so very much about?

Format Available: Book

Review by Katy, Shawnee Branch

 

The Fun Family by Benjamin Frisch

So-o-o-o, um, yeah…

…let’s just say that The Fun Family by Benjamin Frisch is anything but fun. I’m warning you now. It is probably one of the most messed up comics this side of the works of Daniel Clowes or Kaz. Don’t blame me if you have nightmares, especially after viewing the final page.

This graphic novel is an investigation, albeit phantasmagorical, into the spiritual despair of our current age of ever-mounting anxiety and nostalgia. The tale begins with cartoonist Robert Fun, Frisch’s stand in for Bil Keane, and his family having lighthearted fun at Thanksgiving time. Their holiday meal is interrupted by an automated message from the hospital that Robert’s mother has died. It is this terrible news that cracks apart the family’s facade of harmony and seeming perfection.

Marsha Fun, Robert’s wife and mother of their four children, is clearly unhappy with Robert’s work and his detatchment from the family, which only gets worse after Grandma’s funeral. Eventually, Marsha decides that she can no longer sit on her simmering disappointments and asks for a divorce. The children – Robby, Molly, Mikey, and J.T. – are left to cope with the turmoil in their own ways.

Granted, the adults in this work are clearly self-absorbed which is a fault that many readers will not be able to get past. In a work that initially models a perfect family, it’s fracture is bound to lead to finger-pointing. That the parents should have stepped up will stick in the reader’s craw, no doubt. I would argue, though, that this is one of the many points that Frisch is making along the way, that family dysfunction often occurs at the expense of children.

Despite the trauma, The Fun Family is completely worth the ride. The story clearly works as a deconstruction of that old comic strip chestnut, The Family Circus, and other kitschy Americana. Warning number two, here there be creepy porcelain dolls, Big Eye art, and angel painting!

But more importantly, the work examines – breezily – different spiritual approaches found in modern times. The first is represented by Molly, who sees (or thinks she sees) Grandma in angel form, finding solace and direction through communication with the spirit. The second is Martha’s kooky path of ever-shifting psychological self-investigation of the Human Potential Movement variety, combined with New Age elements. The third is Robert’s own retreat into self-expression as a means of organizing his life, first as the creator of the comic strip and later of sacred paintings. The final path is that of Robbie, the oldest child, who lives, and works as a replacement artist on his dad’s strip, in order to recreate a childhood tableau in which he felt secure.

It is arguable – and is argued strongly by the story’s ending – that this final approach is deeply troubling and damaging as a project. Life continues to move on, people continue to change, and such moments in time were perhaps not as real as they may have seemed at the time. To dedicate one’s life to pursuits that strip mine the past, to succumb to unironic nostalgia, leaves one continuously chasing a dream that can never be realized. This way opens one to a constant sense of disappointment, even despair.

Formats Available:  Graphic Novel

Reviewed by Tony, Main Library


If you are interested in discussing this title or other works of sequential art, please join LFPL’s Graphic Novel Discussion Group.

Meetings are held at the Main Library on the second Monday of every month, starting at 6:00 PM.

Upcoming meetings will take place on the following dates:

  • Monday, June 12, 2017 – Wonder Woman

**Note: The live-action movie Wonder Woman will be released on June 2, 2017**
  • Monday, July 10, 2017 – Marvel’s Spider-Heroes

*Note: The live-action movie Spider-Man: Homecoming will be released on July 5, 2017*
  • Monday, August 14, 2017 – Warren Publishing