Categories
Comics History

Read We Hereby Refuse

Read WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Warti…

Three voices. Three acts of defiance. One mass injustice.

The story of camp as you’ve never seen it before. Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in World War II — but many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight.

In this groundbreaking graphic novel, meet:

— JIM AKUTSU, the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, who refuses to be drafted from the camp at Minidoka when classified as a non-citizen, an enemy alien;

— HIROSHI KASHIWAGI, who resists government pressure to sign a loyalty oath at Tule Lake, but yields to family pressure to renounce his U.S. citizenship; and

— MITSUYE ENDO, a reluctant recruit to a lawsuit contesting her imprisonment, who refuses a chance to leave the camp at Topaz so that her case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Based upon painstaking research, We Hereby Refuse presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present.

Overall this was an effective and moving history. It was interesting to trace the path of three different forms of resistance. This expands on what I learned in Takei’s They Called Us Enemy.

Jim Akutsu’s story was the most fleshed out, followed by Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s. His could have used a bit more clarity, and I would have liked more on Mitsuye Endo.

Two artists use significantly different art styles to illustrate the stories. Though the art in Kashiwagi’s segment looked rough and sketchy, I did like it for the tone. I’m not sure it was complementary to the more traditional art style for the other two segments. Perhaps a third art style might have pulled the distinctive styles together better?

Categories
Art and Design Comics

Read Eileen Gray: A House Under the Sun

Read Eileen Gray

In 1924, work began in earnest on a small villa by the sea in the south of France. Nearly a century later, this structure is a design milestone. Meet Eileen Gray, the woman behind the E-1027 house and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. Like so many gifted female artists and designers of her time, Eileen Gray’s story has been eclipsed by the men with whom she collaborated. Dzierzawska’s exquisite visuals bring to life the tale of a young Irish designer whose work and life came to bloom during the ‘Annees Folles’ of early 20th century Paris.

I liked the art but didn’t understand why the house is so special or why it was so offensive to have Le Corbusier’s murals added. Though the book is titled after the house, it’s more of a general biography.

Her Bibendum chair is cool looking.

“The poverty of modern architecture stems from a lack of sensuality.”
Categories
Comics History Science

Read Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage

Read Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage

This sweeping, intelligent and immersive biographical graphic novel from award-winning creators, joins legendary scientist Charles Darwin as a young man, as he embarks on his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle.

It is the year 1831. A gifted but distracted young man named Charles Darwin has been offered a place aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, in a chain of events that will change both his life and the course of modern science. Join him on an epic journey of thrilling discovery as he explores remote corners of the natural world and pieces together the very beginnings of his revolutionary theory of evolution.

Enjoyed this graphic novel, celebrating the joy of discovery and inquiry and exploration. Certainly a sympathetic portrait of Darwin which highlights his enthusiasm for the natural world, and sense of wonder in discovery, while not hiding some of his prejudices about the superiority of western civilization. I hadn’t realized just how far afield he traveled, the many places on his journey, and also didn’t know about the kidnapped Fuegans being returned after many years to “civilize” their people in Tierra del Fuego.

I wasn’t clear whether the language used quoted directly from his writing or was paraphrased and invented, given that the authors had to streamline some of the story.

Categories
Comics History

Read Chasin’ the Bird

Read Chasin’ the Bird by Dave Chisholm

The graphic novel tells the story of Bird’s time in L.A. starting in December 1945, where Bird and Dizzy Gillespie brought frenetic sounds of bebop from the East Coast jazz underground to the West Coast for a two-month residency at Billy Berg’s Hollywood jazz club.

An unflinching, loving look at someone’s hero, clearly written by someone who deeply admires Charlie Parker as a musician. This gives Bird’s demons the weight they deserve and doesn’t excuse them, while also not dismissing his contributions to jazz and music and defining him solely by his failings. Told in short stories from the perspectives of several people who knew or met Bird during his time in California, each chapter illustrated in a different style with unique type, each story exposing another piece of what the truth may be. As an alto sax player whose first CD purchase was a crappy Bird and Diz set, who had a book transposing Bird’s recordings so I could practice playing his solos, Charlie Parker was a musician I looked up to even while knowing he struggled with addiction and died young. I thought this comic was sensitive to the complexity of his life and the racist environment he lived in.