Marie Curie – The Radium Fairy


By Chantal Montellier & Renaud Huynh translated by Lara Vergnaud (Europe Comics)
No ISBN: digital-only publication

I’ve waited ages (well, since March 2017, but I’m old and joyless and my days are clearly pretty limited now) for this superb book to be picked up by a print publisher, but now I’m just going to plug it again it anyway and assume that as you’re reading this on a computer, you can make the leap to seeing comics that way too.

And yes, I know all about the smell and feel of proper books. I feel that way too, but we’re killing more trees than we need to. Just think of it as portable fun you can’t crumple or rip…

Originally released across Europe in 2011, Marie Curie La Fée du Radium was produced in collaboration with the Curie Museum and the Cité des sciences et del ’industrie (part of Universcience), with educator, illustrator and bande dessinée creator Chantal Montellier (Odile et les crocodiles, Les Damnés de Nantes).

The book summarises and dramatizes via graphic narrative a most astounding life, prior to research scientist, educator and museum curator Renaud Huynh’s (La fantastique histoire du radium) extensive and copious Timeline which traces the triumphs, tribulations and legacy of Marie Sklodowska-Curie (1867-1934): thus far the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes.

The critical comics component kicks off in Stockholm on September 4th as aging Marie Curie works on a speech; preparing to receive that second cherished accolade. Thinking back, she pictures her departed husband Pierre Curie. Their joint isolation of the element they named Polonium after her place of birth was a grand achievement but doesn’t make up for her years of struggle for acceptance or his tragic accidental death so early in their marriage…

And so, briefly, concisely and sans fanfare unfolds a true tale of brilliance applied, adversity overcome and persistence rewarded. Today, Curie is credited with adding two elements to the Periodic Table – Radium was the other one – and venerated for her unceasing researches. She was also the first woman allowed to teach at the prestigious Sorbonne, but for much of her life had to overcome entrenched patriarchal attitudes and oppression whilst being vilified in the media and by wider society for her “scandalous” personal life… and generally just for being an uppity female who didn’t know her place.

Isn’t it great how much everything has changed since then? (I am of course waiting for my own Nobel for the isolation of Sarcastium…)

This small but powerful digital-only tome concludes with that large and detailed Timeline. Huynh’s pictorial essay is packed with photographic illustrations, cartoons and clippings combining to encapsulate and clarify Curie’s life and achievements. It is all deconstructed and précised in chapters entitled 1867/1895 Warsaw-Paris’, ‘1896/1905 A Scientific Dream’, ‘1906/1911 Hardships and Success’, ‘1912/1921 The Radium Institute’ and ‘1922/1934: An International Figure’, before concluding with an ‘Epilogue’ revealing how 60 years after her death, Marie Curie’s ashes were transferred to the Pantheon (resting place of the nation’s greatest citizens). She was the first woman to be accorded this honour based solely on her own merits…

Making learning fun, Marie Curie – The Radium Fairy is a potent and powerful inspiration, venerating one of history’s most dedicated scientists: one every youngster of any age should know.
© 2016 – DUPUIS – Chantal Montellier & Renaud Huynh. All rights reserved.

The Lincoln Brigade


By Pablo Durá, Carles Esquembre & Ester Salguero, translated/edited by Andrea Lorenzo Molinari (Caliber Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-63529-822-2 (TPB/Digital edition)

I’m glad my parents are dead.

Their generation thought that they had dealt with fascism so their children wouldn’t have to, but every day it looks like that kind of intolerance is hardwired in some of us and never goes away. Maybe we simply need to be as ruthless and unforgiving as the foe if we want the insanity to finally end.

At least there are still plenty of people willing to fight and keen to share warnings from the past in books like this digital clarion call.

Preceded by an contextualising Introduction by Josephine Nelson – Commander of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and daughter of Abraham Lincoln Brigade leader Steve NelsonThe Lincoln Brigade is a brief but powerful account ruminating on what 3,015 mostly white, largely second-generation European American, passionately Communist volunteers of the 17th (latterly 58th) battalion of the XV International Brigade experienced during the heroic but doomed struggle to defend Republican Spain from Franco and his Nazi allies in the Spanish Civil War (17th July 1936 -1st April 1939). That skilfully managed proxy conflict is now considered by many historians as a test run for World War II: something certain Russian asshats know very well…

The struggle is seen through the eyes of Oliver Law – one of the few black comrades of the “Lincoln Brigade”. Texas born Law (October 23rd 1900 – July 9th 1937) served in the 24th Infantry Regiment, US Army: a professional soldier in a “coloured unit” stationed on the Mexican border. He served efficiently and with honour from 1919-1925 and on mustering out moved gradually north via Indiana and Chicago, finding jobs as a cement worker, taxi driver, restaurateur and dock worker.

Law’s experiences led to him becoming a labour organiser and member of the American Communist Party. As the Great Depression progressed, he was a member of the International Labor Defense movement employed by the Works Project Administration. Moments of early activism are observed as he meets legendary, inspirational African American freedoms fighter Harry Haywood (February 4th 1898 – January 4th 1985) and faces strike-breaking cops beside equally fervent allies of all colours.

In 1936, Benito Mussolini ordered an invasion of Ethiopia in one of the first overt acts of fascist expansionist colonialism and Law realised – as did so many others across the world – that he would have to fight the rise of a tyranny even greater than that he and his kind faced at home. When Spain erupted into chaos with Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde leading the army (supported by Nazi/Italian National Fascist Parties) in revolt against the democratically elected government, Law and thousands like him volunteered to fight for the embattled Republic.

In this fictionalised account of events by Pablo Durá (Original Sins, Tales of Rogues) illustrated by Carles Esquembre (Lorca – un poeta en Neueva York) and colourist Esther Salguero we see how Law – like so many others – had to sneak across neutral Europe into Spain by pretending to be a tourist or else face arrest by his own government. Like most nations the USA and Britain had signed a non-intervention treaty Italy and Germany were happy to flout…

What comes next is grim, tragic, stupid and shameful as the daily grind of driven idealists betrayed by their own supposed allies and cut down as much by indifference and ineptitude as enemy action lead to Law’s swift rise as a soldier and untimely death. In the course of his duties the Texan advances to Commander of the Machine Gun Company and before his death was for a brief moment the official Commander of the whole Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Of the approximately 3000 Americans he so briefly led, 681 were killed in action or died of wounds or sickness…

Oliver Law commanded the first fully-integrated unit of American soldiers in combat 10 years before white and black US soldiers were in 1948 forcibly made to serve together by Presidential decree of Harry S. Truman

It’s all here for you to see and you really should, as it’s delivered with coldly emphatic understatement and clinically clear authenticity: blurring fact with myth and history with extrapolation in the same compelling, upsetting manner as Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, or in graphic novels like Paco Roca, Rodrigo Terrasa & Astiberri’s El abismo del olvido (The Abyss of Forgetting), Mónica Montanés’ Different: A Story of the Spanish Civil War Picture Book or Vittorio Giardino’s epic No Pasaran! trilogy.

Like all those, this too is a book anyone unhappy with the way things are should peruse and ponder upon.
© 2020 Pablo Durá and Carles Esquembre. All Rights Reserved.

Billie Holiday


By José Muñoz & Carlos Sampayo, translated by Katy MacRae, Robert Boyd & Kim Thompson (NBM)
ISBN: 978-1-68112-093-5 (HB/Digital Edition)

Argentinian José Antonio Muñoz was born on July 10th 1942 in Buenos Aires and studied at the prestigious Escuela Panamericana de Arte de Buenos Aires, under comics geniuses Hugo Pratt and Alberto Breccia. Aged 18, he joined the prolific and prestigious Francisco Solano Lopez studio and soon his work was appearing in Hora Cero and Frontera Extra all whilst ghosting episodes of legendary serial Ernie Pike for his old tutor Pratt.

Through the Argentine-based Solano Lopez outfit, he found work on strips for UK publishing giant Amalgamated Press/IPC, but had no real feeling for the material he was producing. Moreover, like so many others, he was increasingly uncomfortable living in his homeland. Eventually (in December 1972) he was compelled to leave Argentina as the military junta tightened its totalitarian grip on the country, clamping down on free expression and the arts, as well as all forms of overt or covert dissent.

Moving to England, Spain and later Italy, in 1974 Muñoz met again fellow émigré and creative soul-mate Carlos Sampayo in Barcelona and convinced the poet, music critic, copywriter and author to try his hand at comics. The result was a stunning expressionistic noir Private Detective masterpiece of loss and regret called Alack Sinner.

Born in 1943, Sampayo grew up with all the same formative experiences as his artistic comrade and, after a similar dispiriting start (he’d tried writing and being a literary editor before resigning himself to work in advertising), moved to Spain in 1972. The pair were first introduced in 1971 when mutual friend Oscar Zarate left Argentina at the forefront of the creative exodus sparked by the rise of “the Colonels”…

Urgently urged by mentor Hugo Pratt to “do something of your own”, Muñoz & Sampayo started producing grimly gritty adventures of an ex-New York cop-turned-shamus haunting the shadows of the world’s greatest, darkest city, encountering the bleak underbelly of the metropolis and all the outcasts, exiles and scum thrown together at its margins. Alack Sinner debuted in experimental Italian anthology Alter Linus, was picked up by Belgian giant Casterman for A Suivre and latterly compiled in albums across the continent. The feature was set solidly in history, confronting issues of prejudice, bigotry and corruption head-on through shocking words and imagery. In one of their stories Sinner played merely a bit part as the pages examined the life, times and fate of one of the most ill-starred women in the history of Jazz and modern America.

And that’s where this powerfully moving biography finds us…

Originally translated and published by Fantagraphics in the early 1990s, NBM’s Billie Holiday takes us into the heart and soul of the doomed and self-destructive nightingale whose incredible voice was all-but-lost to the world for decades before kinder, more evolved ears of all colours rescued her works from oblivion. This epic tome dissects her life and influence through the eyes of distant observers, opening with Francis Marmande’s essay ‘Billie Holiday: Don’t Explain’ providing a fact- and photo-packed biographical appreciation of the singer in her heyday.

Eleanora Holiday – also known as Billie and “Lady Day” – was born April 7th 1915, and died July 17th 1959. In between those dates she won many fans and earned tons of money, but it never bought her acceptance in a world where black skin provoked revulsion, cruelty and smug superiority. It didn’t even buy her protection from New York cops who considered her a prostitute made good, and an uppity subhuman who never knew her proper place…

Billie lost money as quickly – or even faster – as she earned it: to unscrupulous friends and management, or corrupt officials, although most of it was frittered away by the succession of cheating, brutal men she was hopelessly drawn to and whom she could never resist.

A short, stark story of graphic flair offering many powerful full-page images, the tale begins in 1989 as a journalist is assigned to write a feature commemorating the 30th anniversary of a Jazz singer. He’s never heard of Billie Holiday but is good at his job and starts digging…

He reads about a poor black girl raped as a child and forced into child prostitution who (almost) escaped a commonplace fate by singing. She became successful, but never dodged the traps and pitfalls of her life: booze, drugs, sleazy men, manipulative bosses and her own seeming hunger for conflict. Even so, the way she sang was uniquely hers and changed lives forever. She called herself Billie and always performed with a flower in her hair…

For a while the great and good came to watch and hear, and jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Lester Young came too. Their gifts also gave them limited entry to the privileged life – but never enough acceptance – but they seemed to understand. Never enough, though, to save Billie from herself.

This intensely personal interpretation is less biography and more a heartfelt paean of appreciation, channelling and exploring the hard, harsh tone of those troubled times where talented, dogged souls fought for recognition and survival at the fringes of a world determined to exploit and consume them. In that respect, no one was more exploited than Lady Day…

Also included here, ‘Jazz Sessions’ offers a stunning gallery of a dozen stark, chiaroscuric, powerfully evocative images based on scenes from Holiday’s short, sad life and dedication to the freedom of the musical form of Blues and Jazz that she graced and transformed through her vocalisations.

Moving, justifiably angry and pitifully sad, this tale holds the singer up to the light and must be read. Just remember, there’s no Happy Ever After here.
© 1991 Casterman. All rights reserved. © 2017 NBM for the English version.

Degas & Cassatt: A Solitary Dance


By EFA & Rubio, translated by Edward Gauvin (NBM)
ISBN: 978-1-68112-324-0 (Album HB) eISBN: 978-1-68112-325-7

NBM’s line of graphic biographies never fails to delight, and this oversized luxury hardcover (also available digitally) is one of the most fascinating thus far: exploring one of painting’s greatest yet least understood masters and – deducing by inference – one of the most occluded, protracted and certainly frustrated romances in history…

Degas & Cassatt: A Solitary Dance reunites award-winning screenwriter, historian and novelist Salva Rubio (Max, The Photographer of Mauthausen) with animator/illustrator Ricard Fenandez AKA “Efa” (Les Icariades, Rodriguez, Le Soldat, L’Ãme du Vin: L’ail et l’huile). Their previous collaborations are also beautiful biographies – Monet: Itinerant of Light and Django, Hand on Fire: The Great Django Reinhardt.

First released in France, the translated Degas: La danse de la solitude is preceded by mood-setting quotes from Baudelaire and Shakespeare and closes with a detailed Bibliography of suggestions for further study and appreciation. Between those points is a compelling exploration of one of the most turbulent periods in European and Art history, as impacted upon and partially shaped by a controversial, conflicted, contradictory and misunderstood master of line, colour and form…

This pictorial conjecture gently deconstructs enigmatic Edgar Degas is rendered by EFA in the manner of the pastel crayon drawings so beloved and powerfully utilised by Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas (July 19th 1834 – September 27th 1917). It affords a mistily miasmic uncertainty which never obscures detail whilst shaping a mystery to confound and unsettle readers. The stunning confection of painterly images traces – via flashback and supposition – the life of a troubled artistic genius raised almost completely by male relatives to covet success, scorn women and criticise himself mercilessly.

In Paris during the 1870s, a graciously-barbed, polite war of wills and conception began. The creative world was formalised and controlled by a hidebound elite – “The Salon” – dictating what could and could not be ART. The convention-constricted organisation even dictated form, method and content until that stultifying impasse was challenged by a haphazard band of free thinkers who would become derisively dubbed “The Impressionists”.

Among their most outspoken and headstrong proponents were Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Sisley, Bazille and others, but they only really started making waves once staid, bellicose and unfathomable Degas began associating with them. He bemused and bewildered his fellow outriders and the Bohemian set they congregated with, but never felt himself part of the group… or any human affiliation.

His story is seen from its conclusion as ‘1: Solitude’ opens on Saturday, 29th September 1917 with an elderly lady staring at a crypt in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris. She is American painter Mary Cassatt who probably knew Degas better than any other person. On visiting his empty studio, sentiment swallows her as she opens his abandoned notebooks, thinks back and wonders…

In ‘2: Monsieur Degas’ the odd bourgeois’ formative days are selectively reviewed and his misanthropic, misogynistic, chauvinistic and racist stances are quizzed through his problems with his own output. Degas’ work does not and has never satisfied him and he can only find inspiration in places no decent person belongs. It seems the austere bookish elitist cannot open up to his peers but is addicted to being an anonymous, masked and untouchable patron of brothels, bawdy houses and ballet… where only the most degraded – or poverty stricken – go.

As his renown grows a meeting with an art dealer from the USA leads to a possibility of a different life in ‘3: Miss Cassatt’, but the voluntary hermit’s true genius appears to be self-sabotage. Even as the impressionists gradually destroy the influence of The Salon, Degas finally starts generating work worthy of his talent whilst sinking deeper into isolation and pushing away all those who could be friends… or perhaps more…

The story ends with ‘4: The Dance’, allowing some fanciful elaboration on the biographers’ part as the elderly artist confronts his muse and inhibitions in a kind of Happy Ever After that concludes with Rubio’s prose rumination ‘Did Monsieur Degas ever find peace?’

Enchanting, thought-provoking and supremely enthralling, Degas & Cassatt: A Solitary Dance is a soft-focus voyage of illicit discovery no lover of unforgettable pictures can be without.
© EFA/RUBIO/ ÉDITIONS DU LOMBARD (DARGAUD- LOMBARD S.A.) 2021. All rights reserved.

Degas & Cassatt: A Solitary Dance will be published on March 12th 2024 and is available for pre-order. For more information and other great reads see http://www.nbmpub.com/

Glorious Summers volume 2: The Calanque 1969


By Zidrou & Jordi Lafebre, with additional colour by Mado Peña, translated by Lara Vergnaud (Europe Comics)
No ISBN: Digital edition only

It’s close (OMG! LESS THAN A WEEK!) to the most stressful and commercialised event of the singleton calendar for unattached people who wish they weren’t, so let’s look at what all that amorous manoeuvring and romantic strategizing is supposed to lead to as perfectly depicted in a sublime and delightful family feast of “Happy Ever Afters”…

Until comparatively recently, comics in the English-speaking world mostly countenanced comedic or numerous adventure sub-genres (crime, superhero, horror, sci fi), with only a small but vital niche of “mundane world” ventures, usually depicted via graphic biographies and autobiographies like They Called Us Enemy, Breakwater, Love on the Isle of Dogs, Wage Slaves or Sour Pickles offering a different feel and flavour. Even historical sagas were treated as extraordinary moments with larger-than-life characters whenever possible.

What we have never had – and still largely don’t – is a comics equivalent to general fiction, drama and melodrama. That’s not so in Japan, South Korea or Europe, where a literal “anything goes” attitude has always accommodated and nurtured human-scaled, slice-of-life tales depicting ordinary people in as many quiet as extraordinary moments. Surely it can’t be that hard to tell engaging stories in pedestrian, recognisably ordinary settings? Medical traumas, love stories, school tales and family tragedies about common folk seem to play well on various-sized screens around the world, so why not in English language comics? The closest we seem to get are comedies like John Allison’s superb Giant Days (which I really must review soon)…

People being people is more than enough for Europeans. There apparently is an insatiable appetite for everyday events aimed at properly “mature readers”, joyfully sans vampires, aliens or men in tights. These even have sub-genres of their own. For example, there’s a wealth of superb material just about going on holiday. So, since our own Government-in-Absentia have ensured that it’s now all-but-impossible for any UK-based citizens to pop across and have une petite vacances in Europe, let’s stare & glare covetously at them having a good time. After all, over there holidays are an inalienable right, and they have some simply fabulous tales about a simple break. This one is probably amongst the best you’ll ever see…

An absolute exemplar of fantasy vacations made real, Glorious Summers: Southbound! (1973) was a nostalgia-drenched confection by Zidrou and regular collaborator Jordi Lafebre: a sublime example of idyllic group memory made into graphic sorcery in an everyday account utterly unafraid to temper humorous sweetness and light with real-world tragedy and suspense.

Perhaps some context is in order. Summer holidays – “Midi” – are a big deal in France and Belgium. The French divide into two tribes over the annual rest period, which generally lasts an entire month. Juilletistes only vacation in July, wielding dogmatic facts like rapiers to prove why it’s the only way to take a break. They are eternally opposed, heart, soul, and suntan lotion, by majority faction the Aoûtiens, who recharge their batteries in August whilst fully reciprocating the suspicion, disdain and baffled scorn of the early-leavers. Many European sociologists claim the greatest social division today is not race, religion, gender, political affiliation or whether to open boiled eggs from the top or the bottom, but when summer holidays begin and end…

Les Beaux Étés 1: Cap au Sud! was first in a string of family visits that began in 2015 courtesy of scripter Benoît “Zidrou” Drousie and Spanish illustrator Jordi Lafebre. Drousie is Belgian, Brussels-born in 1962 and was a school teacher prior to quitting marking books in 1990 to begin making them. His main successes include school dunce series L’Elève Ducobu, Petit Dagobert, Scott Zombi, La Ribambelle, Le Montreur d’histoires, the revival of Ric Hochet, African Trilogy, Léonardo, Shi and many more. His most celebrated and beloved stories are this memorable sequence and 2010’s Lydie, both illustrated by Lafebre.

That gifted, empathically sensitive illustrator and art teacher was born in Barcelona in 1979 and has created comics professionally since 2001, first for magazines like Mister K, where he limned Toni Font’s El Mundo de Judy. He found regular work at Le Journal de Spirou, creating the romance Always Never and collaborated with Zidrou on La vieille dame qui n’avait jamais joué au tennis et autres nouvelles qui font du bien, Lydie, and La Mondaine.

A combination of feel-good fable and powerful comedy drama, Glorious Summers depicts memories of an aging couple recalling their grandest family moments, beginning with a momentous vacation in 1973 where their four kids nearly lost their parents….

Here however, second volume The Calanque focuses on August 1969 as pregnant Maddie Faldérault (soon to deliver precociously hyperactive Paulette AKA Peaches) tries to amuse her three impatient kids whilst hubby Pierre frantically puts finishing touches to his latest comic strip. It’s a regular ritual before his month off, but this time less annoying as it’s also his first work as a named creator rather than an anonymous ghost artist for others. Apparently the world is finally ready for a four-armed cowboy gunfighter…

Their kids are immune to bedtimes and indulge in time-honoured holiday rituals like shouting, fighting and singing odd songs, before Pierre downs his brushes. Now the annual Faldérault escape from gloomy Brussels for a month in sun-drenched France can start.

Only… on the way they need to see his dad. Pépé Buelo moved to Brussels when General Franco took over Spain. He made a good life as bricklayer and husband, but now he’s on his own and a little lonely…

Eventually, the family set off with introspective toddler Louis reading, drawing and constantly sharing his far from limited knowledge of where babies come from, even as self-conscious oldest girl Jolly-Julie anxiously ponders life without bathrooms and in-betweener Nicole tells everyone they meet that mummy is going to be a mummy again. As they motor south in the dark – they left really, really late – they play their annual game of deciding where they’re going by solving riddles because planned destinations and pre-booked rooms are for wimps…

True free spirits, they pick up a hippie hitchhiker and scare him witless with their laid back attitudes – especially teasing Jolly-Julie’s reticence to use nature as a restroom. When he drops out they resume southern roaming and finally decide to camp in a shady wood for the night. In the morning the family Faldérault realise their error as elderly French couple Rufus and Ramona discover they have Belgians in the back garden…

After a few lovely days as guests who can’t politely escape, Pierre and Maddie learn that Rufus knows the perfect spot for travellers to enjoy their break, directing them to a hidden cove on the sea coast. It’s beautiful: an idyllic cliff-screened rustic paradise with a ramshackle fishing hut just ready to be temporarily occupied. Rufus even provides a guide in the form of his exuberant older brother – aging fisherman Marius.

What follows is timeless weeks of wonder and unforgettable explorations on endlessly sunny days, with local villagers taking the wanderers to heart and welcoming them to a taste of rustic heaven. Even the Americans landing on the moon or the Tour de France victory of Belgian Eddie Merckx can’t compare…

Ultimately the real world calls them back and the holidaymakers pack up for home. Awaiting them is bad news for Pierre, a new job for Maddie and a rainy grey hometown. One clear sign of normality resuming comes as they find a dog abandoned by the roadside, but brilliantly and boldly they turn that traumatic event into a lasting positive…

This tale is another beautifully rendered and realised basket of memories stitched seamlessly together. It’s funny, sweet and charming whilst delivering painful blows you never see coming. There aren’t any spectacular events and shocking crises and that’s the whole point…

If you’re British – and old enough – this series (six translated albums thus far, plus a French omnibus edition) will echo revered family sitcoms like Bless This House or Butterflies and generational ads starring the “Oxo Family”. (If that description doesn’t fit you, I pity your browsing history if you look up any of that…). The rest of you in need of an opening (but unfair) comparator could break out the Calvin and Hobbes collections and re-examine the bits with his embattled parents when the kid’s out of the picture…

Lyrical, laconic, engagingly demure, and debilitatingly nostalgic, this holiday romance is sheer visual perfection wrapped in sharp dialogue and a superbly anarchic sense of mischief. Vacations are built of moments and might-have-beens, packaged here in compelling clips making the mundane marvellous.
© 2018 -DARGAUD BENELUX (Dargaud-Lombard s.a.) – ZIDROU & LEFEBRE, LLC. All rights reserved.

Nina Simone in Comics


By Sophie Adriansen; with Antoane, Romain Brun, Domenico Carbone, Gabriele Di Caro, Mademoiselle Caroline, Samuel Figuiére, Dario Formisani, Sandrine Fourrier, François Foyard, Christian Galli, Chadia Loueslati, Walter Pax, Isa Python, Benjamin Reiss, Riccardo Randazzo, Adrien Roche, Anne Royant, Cynthia Thiéry, Mayeul Vigouroux, Lysandre Vanhoutvenne, Sara Colella, François Renaud & various (NBM)
ISBN: 978-1-68112-326-4 (HB) eISBN: 978-1-68112-327-1

Nina Simone was a mighty voice dedicated to freedom of expression and emancipation of body and soul. This powerful collaborative visual investigation probes her troubled life, failures and achievements, and highlights a life-long war between family pressures, her own frustrated desires, search for autonomy and the spurious divide between classical music and The Blues.

Another stunning musical biography, this book was released continentally in 2023 and is certain to appeal to readers all over the English-speaking world. Nina Simone in Comics joins NBM’s superb and sublime graphic narrative sub-strand, probing the history of a globally significant performer and musical phenomenon whose works and deeds shook the planet and changed society…

Following a full ‘Discography’ (mirroring a ‘Further Reading and viewing’ section at the end of the book) we have context-providing, photo-packed prose essays augmenting stylish individual comics snippets. Both educative articles and chronological character-confirming visual vignettes are penned by French author, biographer and journalist Sophie Adriansen (La menace des fantômes & Musiques diaboliques [Scooby-Doo], Grace Kelly – D’Hollywood à Monaco, le roman d’une légende, Le Syndrome de la vitre étoilée) who steers a coterie of cartoonists and illustrators dramatising the history and demystifying the myths for us. Each combined chapter opens with a quote from the star or close associates…

Anne Royant opens the show with ‘Music As Company’ detailing early days of a musical prodigy born into a strict Christian “negro” household in proudly segregated Tryon, North Carolina. It’s 1935 and Eunice Kathleen Waymon is growing up in a blanketing swathe of religious music, and utterly unable to keep her little hands off her mother’s beloved pedal organ. Eunice is barely three and plays it better than her astounded mother Mary Kate

Textual assessment ‘In the Beginning’ sees how the family moved socially upwards thanks to Eunice’s gifts, before Christian Galli reveals in images how the toddler decided ‘I’m Going To Be A Classical Pianist When I Grow Up’. Prose supplement ‘Two Pivotal Figures in her Life’ reveals the influence of Mary Kate’s employer Mrs Miller – who sponsored music lessons for the maid’s kid and organised a fund fuelled by Eunice’s recitals that made enough money to carry the child to music college. The other founding spirit was English music teacher Muriel “Miz Mazy” Massinovitch who taught the wonder girl poise, erudition and Bach: inculcating a love of “real music” that carried Eunice to the top of the world but also tainted her life with bitter disappointment…

Growing into a teen hampered by ingrained prejudice and restricted by repressive “Jim Crow” laws prompts the question ‘Do You Feel Black?’ (illustrated by Samuel Figuiére) before support feature ‘Eunice Discovers the World’ shows her dream to be a classical performer continually challenged by blinkered society, before Dario Formisani and colourist Lysandre Vanhoutvenne share heartbreaking revelations as the high school graduate’s dream of attending a prestigious music academy founders due to skin colour in ‘Early Setbacks.’ Her transition to Philadelphia and New York is explored through prose and photos in ‘Talent to Develop’

Mother Mary Kate was a hard, pious woman and when Eunice adopted a stage name to play nightclubs and earn money, her surrender to ‘The Devil’s Music’ (art by Mademoiselle Caroline) sparked years of bitter contention. That transition and its repercussions is covered in ‘Eunice Becomes Nina’ before Adrien Roche draws ‘Pivotal Figures’ and an essay follows Nina ‘Back to Atlantic City’ for a new life of overnight popularity and appreciation but utterly at odds with her childhood aspirations…

A lifetime of poor choices in men and managers is first touched upon in the Antoane-illustrated ‘We Start Recording Tomorrow’ whilst bizarre circumstances leading to ‘The First Album’ are seen, prior to François Foyard’s cartoon crescendo ‘Patience…’ detailing how Nina responded to learning her life and music were controlled by men because she never read contracts: a situation expanded upon in ‘An Underwhelming Success.’

Cynthia Thiéry shows ‘A New Star Is Born!’ after playing a landmark gig at a legendary venue, further explored in text supplement ‘The Town Hall’, after which Chadia Loueslati depicts Nina’s marriage and reasons for staying with an abusive controller whose love manifested in bouts of violence and deep remorse in ‘A Hold On Me’, and ‘A Time of Conflicts’ adds much-needed context to the mystery…

Limned by Riccardo Randazzo and fleshed out by colourist Sara Colella, ‘I’ll Be Back’ and text titbit ‘Marriage and Travel’ follow Nina – a mother with no control of her work or finances – as she visits Africa and becomes even more consumed by civil rights issues, leading to her learning ‘Your Weapon Is Music!’ (Isa Python art) whilst ‘1963’ recapitulates the state of the world. Sandrine Fourrier realises Simone’s progress ‘Towards a Music of Protest’, with a prose precis spotlighting Nina’s ‘Time to Get Involved’

Romain Brun illustrates the birth and spreading social impact of breakthrough composition ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ (co-created with black poet Weldon Irvine) as historical context comes via support feature ‘The Fight Intensifies’, before Gabriele Di Caro revisits public event ‘Human Kindness Day’ (AKA “The Summer of Soul”, and “Black Woodstock”) as a prose essay asks was that ‘The Moment It All Collapsed?’

A decade of letting men control her life and money left Nina Simone a target of the IRS and international exile, as revealed by Benjamin Reiss who draws her ‘In A Pub In Paris’ with prose synopsis ‘An Eventful Decade’ tracking a tragic decline highlighted by a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder. A monumental reversal began when a forgotten track – added as an afterthought to her very first album – was used in a perfume commercial and set the world aglow. Domenico Carbone & François Renaud light up the comeback trail in ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’, with ‘Nina’s Back’ adding detail to a career resurrection prior to declining mental health triggering a crisis. Limned by Walter Pax & Renaud, ‘That’s Enough!’ with text support ‘Tragedy at Bouc-Bel-Air’ expands on an incident that almost ended Nina’s life…

This compelling journey through oppression and injustice chooses to focus on upbeats at the close, with Nina’s presence at Nelson Mandela’s 80th birthday/third wedding in ‘Happy Birthday, Mister President’ – visualised by Mayeul Vigouroux augmented with essay ‘Swan Song’ – before Royant illustrates the world’s too-late knee-jerk approbation in ‘God Be With You Till We Meet Again’ with a pithy summation ‘Keeping the flame alive’

In so many ways, Activist Nina Simone was more important than the performer/composer, but whether her actions or her music drew you to her, this book will remind you why and make you miss her all the more. Nina Simone in Comics is an astoundingly readable and beautifully rendered treasure for narrative art and music fans alike: one to resonate with anybody who loves to listen and look. If you love pop history and crave graphic escape, this will truly feed your soul.
© 2023 Editions Petit à Petit. © 2024 NBM for the English translation.

Nina Simone in Comics is scheduled for UK release February 13th 2024 and available for pre-order now. Most NBM books are also available in digital formats. For more information and other wonderful reads see http://www.nbmpub.com/

Red Harvest – A Graphic Novel of the Terror Famine in 1930’s Soviet Ukraine


By Michael Cherkas (NBM)
ISBN: 978-1-68112-320-2 (HB) eISBN: 978-1-68112-323-3

Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: Because Truth is the Greatest Gift… 10/10

Generally this month varies between Halloween scary stories and material pertinent to Black History month, but today we’re looking at something that is best described as a true horror story.

In 1954 Michael Cherkas was born in Oshawa Ontario. He grew up, studying cartooning at Sheridan College in nearby Oakville, before delving deeper into the art world through Illustration and Design courses at The Ontario College of Art in Toronto. A professional graphic artist, cartoonist and art director for over three decades, he has also – with associates Larry Hancock, John van Bruggen, John Sabli’c – winningly blended social commentary with subversion and paranoic science fiction in comics and books like The Silent Invasion quartet and spin-offs The Purple Ray, The New Frontier and Suburban Nightmares.

Cherkas’ family came to Canada from Ukraine, and Red Harvest is a far more personal comics narrative: one he has taken fifteen years to tell…

The deeply personal passion project details how one prosperous, self-sufficient farming village – Zelenyi Hai – was caught up in and destroyed by the doctrinaire and utterly botched “collectivization of farming” program initiated by Josef Stalin in 1931. That triumph of dogma over logic, common sense and physical practicality stated that the principles of industrialisation be applied to farming to maximise yields, with the resultant increase being sold to the rich-but-failing capitalist nations to secure much-needed funds and resources.

It didn’t work out that way and – aggravated by inefficiency and abetted by levels of regional featherbedding and root-&-branch institutional corruption unmatched until the current British Government started handing out contracts during the Covid crisis – resulted in a wholly man-made famine that killed over five million and displaced millions more.

Ukrainians call that time in 1932 and 1933 the “Holodomor” (literally “death/murder by hunger”). The policy (or naked landgrab) was forcibly applied to the Soviet-controlled (and non-Russian) regions of eastern and central Ukraine, northern Kuban and Kazakstan, with cautious modern estimates reckoning their populations diminished by 35%. However, thanks to decades of Party gag-orders, news-editing and fact-suppression, barely anywhere else knows it ever happened…

How this graphic novel came about – and particularly the powerful illustrative style used – is discussed in Cherkas’ Introduction, and the tale is preceded by a Glossary of language used to add impact and colour to this bleak monochrome masterpiece.

A targeted investigation rather than a straight memoir, the fictionalised saga opens in 2008 as aging Canadian citizen and recently-retired farmer Mykola Kovalenko prepares for his first visit to Ukraine since leaving in 1942. The big event has made him anxious and he’s started dreaming of the past and remembering…

What follows is a compelling yet engaging narrative exposing a war crime and systematic genocide the world has been happy to forget. Rendered with wit, tact and great reserve, it adds meat to history’s bones, tracing the slow, gradual, hopeless decline and repercussions very much in the manner later employed in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. That author also knew human nature, political chicanery; he has painful inescapable truths and a bit of history…

Cherkas is astoundingly adept at giving the many contributory factors and factions human faces: by turn hopeful, enthusiastic, stoic, enduring, fanatical, ruthless, crushed, despondent and ultimately hopeless. By blending Mykola’s contemporary return with the concatenation of cozening deceptions, betrayals, mismanagements, brutally enforced separations, family divisions and stupid changes applied with ruthless inefficiency by Party Officials local and Russian, the author has shone a light on a story that never goes away and never ends happily.

Couched in terms of a family drama, Red Harvest is potent, and unforgettable: a dish we should all dip into and accept that sometimes bitterness is the best we can aspire to.

Red Harvest is © 2023 by Michael Cherkas. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Red Harvest will be released on November 14th 2023 and is available for digital and physical copy pre-orders now.

Most NBM books are available in digital formats. For more information and other great reads see http://www.nbmpub.com/.

Hellraisers


By Robert Sellers & JAKe (SelfMadeHero)
ISBN: 978-1-906838-36-2 (TPB/Digital edition)

Here’s a quandary for you. Why are we blessed with and so obsessed by the capacity for self-destruction? Answers on a beermat to…

Robert Sellers used to be a stand-up comedian – so he has his own perspective – before settling as an author and film journalist with prose biographies including Sting, Tom Cruise, Sean Connery and the Monty Python phenomenon to his name. He’s also contributed to periodicals and magazines like The Independent, Total Film, Empire, SFX and Cinema Retro. And he’s also been seen on TV quite a bit.

In 2009 he published a magnificent history of theatrical excellence and brilliant excess in his Life and Inebriated Times of Burton, Harris, O’Toole and Reed. Two years later, he revisited and reformatted the material in collaboration with prestigious illustrator, designer and animator JAKe (How to Speak Wookiee, cartoon series Geekboy, Mighty Book of Boosh, The Prodigy’s Fat of the Land and so much more, both singly and with the studio Detonator which he co-founded). The artist keeps himself to himself and lets his superb artistry do all the talking.

Self-adapted from his prose history of the iconic barnstorming British film and theatre legends Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed and Peter O’Toole, Sellers transformed Hellraisers into a pictorial feast of “why did he do THAT?!” These tales of lurid limelight reveal the unique and incredible lives of a quartet of new wave, working class thespian heroes; each more famed for boozing and brawling than for acting. The result is a masterful parable and celebration of the vital, vibrant creative force of rebellion.

The histories are diligently interpreted with savage, witty style – and with a heaping helping of barely-suppressed admiration – in ferociously addictive and expressive monochrome cartoon and caricature novelettes by the enigmatic JAKe.

Working on the principle that a Hellraiser is “a person who causes trouble by violent, drunken or outrageous behaviour” and cloaked in the guise of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the salutary fables open as another drunken reprobate is thrown out of another pub. It’s Christmas Eve at the Rose & Crown of Broken Dreams and Martin should be home with his wife and son.

After again disgracing himself, and still shaking with DT’s and unexpunged rage, the pathetic drunk staggers back to his loving but scared family, only to pass out. He is awoken by his hellraising father who drank and smoked himself to death seven years previously.

Told that he has one last chance to save himself, Martin is warned that he will be visited by four spirits (no, sadly not that sort) who will regale him with the stories of their lives and fates and failures and triumphs…

What follows is a beguiling journey of bitter self-discovery as Burton, Harris, Reed and O’Toole (still alive at that juncture, but part of the visitation of “spooky buggers” as it’s just a matter of time, my dear boy…) recount their own soused-and-sodden histories, experiences and considerations in an attempt to turn around the piddling lightweight. They’re certainly not that repentant, however, and even proud of the excesses and sheer exuberant manly mythology they’ve made of their lives…

Managing the masterful magic trick of perfectly capturing the sheer charismatic force and personality of these giants of their craft and willing (or helpless?) accomplices in their own downfalls, this superb saga even ends on an upbeat note. However, that’s only after cataloguing the incredible achievements, starry careers, broken relationships, impossibly impressive and frequently hilarious exploits of debauchery, intoxication and affray perpetrated singly and in unison by the departed, unquiet sozzled soul…

Jam-packed with legendary exploits and barroom legends of four astoundingly gifted men who couldn’t stop breaking rules and hearts (especially their own), and blessed/cursed with infinitely unquenchable thirsts for the hard stuff and the aforementioned appetites for self-destruction, this intoxicating, so very tasty tome venerates the myths these unforgettable icons promulgated and built around themselves, but never descends into pious recrimination or laudatory gratification.

It’s just how they were…

Sellers has the gift of forensic language, perfectly channelling the voices and idiom of each star even as JAKe perfectly blends shocking historical reportage with evocative surreal metafiction in this wonderful example of the power of sequential narrative.

Clever, witty and unmissable; isn’t it time you took a little nip to fortify yourself?
© 2010 Robert Sellers and JAKe. All rights reserved.

Prince in Comics


By Tony Lourenço (narrative) & Nicolas Finet (articles): illustrated by Joël Alessandra, Céheu, Christopher, Samir Dahmani, Anne Defréville, Samuel Figuiére, Baudouin Forget, Noémie Honein, Kongkee, Yvan Ojo, Christelle Pécout, Barrack Rima, Toru Terada, Léah Touitou, Martin Trystram, Yunbo & various and translated by Montana Kane (NBM)
ISBN: 978-1-68112-321-9 (HB) eISBN: 978-1-68112-322-6

Here’s another stunning rock biography: released continentally in 2021: the latest entry in NBM’s superb “…in Comics” sub-strand, exploring the many mysteries of a unique musical phenomenon who shook the world: a led performer who changed popular culture and modern society…

Gathered in this fetching account are context-providing, photo-packed essays bracketing individual comics sections. Here, each chronological article is written by author, filmmaker, journalist, publisher, educator and music documentarian Nicolas Finet – who has worked in comics for three decades, crafting Graphic Novels like Bowie in Comics and Love Me Please – The Story of Janis Joplin, as well as reference works like Mississippi Ramblin’ and Forever Woodstock. scripting the strip snippets in between is musician, performer, painter, author/travel writer and art photographer Tony Lourenço who prefers the mononym “Nyt”, transforming and dramatizing potentially dry facts for a horde of artists to spectacularly realise in comics vignettes…

Our baroque journey begins with the scene-stealing front man as, limned by Christopher, ‘The 1960s: Way Up North’ takes us to Minneapolis Minnesota to introduce child musical prodigy Prince Rogers Nelson, born on June 7th 1958, and the warring parents who bequeathed him astounding gifts, a miniscule frame and lifelong insecurities. Following divorce the kid met his first long term musical accomplice at Bryant Junior High, as seen in Yunbo’s ‘The 1970s: André and Me’, and how Prince joined his pal’s far happier family.

As they moved further into sounds and formed early bands, Samir Dahmani details ‘1975-1978: The Gift of Music’ with André sharing his own dream as the boys cut that crucial first album…

Realised by Céheu, ‘1977-1978: The Art of Standing Your Ground’ shows how the young genius secures a nigh-impossible deal with Warner Bros Records (WEA) for a 3-record deal and blows it all on new technologies and getting even better at every aspect of his obsession, consequently making more music to die for…

The next phase of his rise is dissected in ‘1979-1980: A Star is Born’ limned by Christelle Pécout exploring the transition from studio savant to stage god, after which Joël Alessandra peeks at ‘1980-1983: Sex, Etc.’ dealing with Prince’s disastrous gig supporting the Rolling Stones and the lessons learned. Always courting controversy and perpetually reinventing himself, the drive to shock intensified, and the release of double album 1999 finds the music man becoming impresario of a clan of interrelated bands and core collaborators on stage and in the studio resulting in ‘1984: Revolution Under a Purple Rain’ (rendered by Martin Trystram). Having mastered the movie sector, ‘1985: Jammin’ With Sheila’ by Samuel Figuiére diverts to deconstruct crucial percussion potentate and most significant other Sheila Escovado before returning to roots and constructing his personal performance pleasure dome, as revealed by Baudouin Forget in ‘1986: Paisley Park’.

With a stable base to build and transform from, ‘1987-1988: Consecration: Sign o’ the Times– by Yvan Ojo – steps away to Paris to view the creation of the landmark album and tour through the eyes of a certain fan before Hollywood calls – or is it receives? – notification of fabulous film action in Anne Defréville’s ‘1989: Prince and the Movies: Batman(with cameos from Tim Burton and Jack Nicholson)…

Twelve years into a glittering career and promoting the era of a New Power Generation, ‘1991’: Diamonds and Pearls’ (Pécout) finds Prince at the top of the world before that old contract causes fresh grief in ‘1992-1997: Tough Times…’ as delineated by Barrack Rima.

Toru Terada’s art opens the period signified by a graphic symbol and the acronym TAFKAP in ‘1998-2000: …And Rebirth’ as the star in self-exile explores the burgeoning universe of the World Wide Web. He also changes religions in ‘2001-2002: As God is my Witness…’ (Noémie Honein). Thereafter Samuel Figuiére orchestrates ‘2004-2006: The Comeback’ whilst Christopher recaptures ‘2007: The Greatest Show in the World’ and Kongkee details the beginning of a new musical legacy in ‘2009: Prince Producer’ before Léah Touitou traces his return to basic principles for ‘2013-2015: 3RDEYEGIRL’.

Then, just as it was then, there’s a sudden surprise end as detailed by Barrack Rima in ‘2016: The End of All Songs’

Each cartoon encapsulation is followed by Nicolas Finet’s context-packed mini-essays before this superb catalogue of hits closes with additional material including a ‘Select Discography’, ‘Films and Videos’, ‘On the World Wide Web’, suggested further ‘Reading and ‘Interviews and Articles’.

Prince in Comics is an astoundingly readable, beautifully rendered treasure for narrative art and music fans alike: one to resonate with anybody who wants to listen and look. If you love pop history and crave graphic escape, this will truly rock you.
© 2021 Editions Petit à Petit. © 2023 NBM for the English translation.

Prince in Comics is scheduled for UK release September 12th 2023 and available for pre-order now. Most NBM books are also available in digital formats. For more information and other wonderful reads see http://www.nbmpub.com/

Thomas Girtin: The Forgotten Painter


By Oscar Zárate (SelfMadeHero)
ISBN: 978-1-914224-07-2 (HB/Digital edition)

Oscar Zárate was born in Argentina in 1942. After studying architecture he worked in advertising until 1971, at which time, like so many other countrymen, he migrated to Europe. Restarting his life and career, his design and painting jobs were augmented from 1977 onwards by illustrating histories of scientific and political luminaries (the …For Beginners and Introducing… series). This led to his adapted literary graphic novels Othello (1983) and Dr. Faustus (1986). A year later he collaborated with Alexei Sayle on Geoffrey the Tube Train and the Fat Comedian and in 1991 the award-winning A Small Killing, written by Alan Moore. He also produced socially active comics strips for Fleetway’s Crisis magazine.

A creator of intellect, passion and sensitivity, Zárate has always delivered far more than expected and in his latest magnum opus advances the potential of graphic biography by combining the avowed popular rediscovery of outsider English Master Thomas Girtin: The Forgotten Painter with a compelling (hopefully, largely fictionalised) drama. The players are three modern day artistic apprentices, devout and dedicated yet adrift and floundering in their own highly personalised searches for integrity and eternal truths. Ultimately, they all finally find ways forward by looking back to a rebel genius inexplicably sidelined by history…

Arturo, Sarah and Fred are all mature-student artists who meet up at a weekly life drawing class in London. Each is passionate about their pastime but cannot escape the crippling pressures their regular lives bring. Arturo is from Argentina and still carries self-inflicted scars of betrayal and failure, as well as the shame of having escaped terror at the cost of his family. It makes him seem gruff, distrusting, weary and cynical …

Architect and imminent grandmother-to-be Sarah is crippled by a different kind of guilt: perpetually wracked by how she is not good enough at anything she does. This recently remanifested when her greatest friend from art school reached out after decades of silence and separation. Back then, Sarah had abandoned and ghosted her on the cusp of success and greatness and has ever since writhed in the torment of debilitating guilt only Catholicism can (self) inflict.

Poor Fred is perhaps the most troubled: an honest, fair-minded worker who accidentally uncovered high levels of tax fraud at work. Even after losing his job because of it, he is still being pilloried: on one side pursued by a journalist who wants him to become a whistle-blower and on the other by a gang of heavies his former bosses hired to ensure his silence…

For nearly a year the trio have gradually become friends, discussing art in after-class pub sessions. Now Fred has become an impassioned zealot with a new love. He’s discovered an 18th century genius who changed the shape of English watercolour painting and then simply vanished from public view and memory.

It’s an injustice Fred is determined to set right…

The story of Thomas Girtin is woven throughout their cumulative tale. He is an intriguing mystery and shining exemplar whose gradually reconstructed history inspires each modern-day acolyte to change the course of their own life. Arturo finds strength from the tragically ill-starred artist’s resolve and courage at a time of widespread and earthshaking political unrest: an outright proudly rebel republican in an avidly monarchist nation, despising, decrying and working against the patronage system that supported his work and kept him in luxury.

Sarah finds inspiration in the driven quest for an almost-mystical connection to Nature and a higher truth. Young Girtin was a contemporary, rival and friend of latterday English icon JMW Turner, and at the turn of the 18th century was rapidly growing in renown. Already recognised as a groundbreaking pioneer outselling his old schoolmate in the cutthroat and exploitative art scene of the day, Girtin never rested, but continually strove to capture the fundamental revelations of reality.

That all ended with his early death in 1802, aged 27. Crucially for Sarah, in his search for the truth of time and the cosmos, Girtin martyred himself: dying due to his own obsessive compulsion to capture the elements in all their ferocious fury and restorative glories…

As for Fred, Girtin’s life increasingly becomes his own. Resurrecting and redeeming the lost painter’s reputation and sharing his mastery with the world becomes his reason for living, driving him to make a pilgrimage in Girtin’s footsteps and thereafter reorder the course of his own remaining years…

The twinned stories are subtly and smoothly presented by Zárate using two different styles of illustrative painting; mixing modern-day pastel tones with stark, sepia-tinted historical episodes that reveal – in his and his characters’ eyes at least – who Girtin was and how he lived, thrived and died.

As this monumental tome unfolds and tellingly argues for Girtin’s popular revival and reassessment, the most convincing asset in that campaign are the beautiful original Girtin works. The reproductions of his greatest triumphs – “View near Beddgelert”, “Estuary of the River Taw, Devon”, “Storiths Heights” and his undisputed masterpiece “The White House at Chelsea” – are judiciously folded into the text and include a selection of large gatefold images.

This is a book about Art and a story of artists, operating on the principle that what we see which moves us, we need to share. Once the story’s done here, that can be easily first facilitated by reading erudite and engaging endpiece ‘Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) An Afterword’ by Dr Greg Smith, (Senior Research Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art) and the attendant Acknowledgements, Permissions, and copious Bibliography sections.

You can always check him out yourself. There are many places online to see Girtin’s work, and even a few museums, if you’re pushy. Then go tell a like-minded friend.
© Oscar Zárate 2023. All rights reserved.