Kent Worcester’s article “The Graphics Juggernaut,” posted last month at the website of New Politics magazine, looks at Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg by Kate Evans (Verso) and three other recent political “titles aimed at the words-and-pictures market” — which is probably a more serviceable description than calling them “graphic nonfiction novels,” come to think of it. Among the other books reviewed is a Dover reprint of My War by Szegedi Szüts, a sort of nonverbal memoir originally published in 1931.
Given how quickly the centennial-spurred mass-media interest in the First World War seems to have dissipated over the past year, each volume sounds like a welcome jog to historical memory. Worcester nicely sums up the artists’ contrasting styles:
“Both My War and Red Rosa are filled with sometimes rousing and sometimes horrifying depictions of political and military campaigns from a century ago. But the two books are quite distinct from an aesthetic perspective. Whereas Kate Evans’ pages carefully record period details, from living rooms to military uniforms, Szüts favors a spare approach in which white space is interrupted by sudden outbursts of black ink. Evans’ characters are garrulous, and many of her pages are organized around conversations, classroom lectures, and soapbox speeches. By contrast, Szüts eschews formal language and uses thick brushstrokes to trace the protagonist’s journey from civilian life to the battlefield.”
In the interest of full albeit inconsequential exposure, I should mention that I’m part of the New Politics editorial board and have a degree of separation from Kent probably quantified as a fraction. Anyway, this is the first Quick Study posting of the new year — and really the launch of the blog itself, as such, if you don’t count the throat-clearing noises here a few days ago. Go check out the article for now but by all means come back soon.