PositiveHyperallergicIn a cleanly framed, black-and-white nonfiction comic, Philadelphia cartoonist Box Brown examines marijuana ... the first graphic unpacking of this history ... Brown’s new book is definitely funny, even if the subject isn’t much of a laugh at all. Cannabis is more of an exploration of how racist propaganda helped produce laws that have unfairly punished minorities and engendered anti-immigrant sentiment in the US for as long as the plant has been here ... as Brown ably demonstrates, the former Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner’s imprint on American drug policy has loomed large whether he’s been around to see it or not.
RaveThe Los Angeles TimesShares lesser-broadcast hardships as well as how quickly wildfire victims are expected to process a frenzied cycle of emotions ... But a vulnerable Fies doesn’t grieve alone — the careful accounting here culminates in what’s better described as a work of comics journalism than it is autobiography ... Aesthetically reminiscent of Sarah Glidden’s nonfiction works or Josh Neufeld’s reporting on Hurricane Katrina, A Fire Story utilizes the techniques typically practiced by those working in the comics medium — sequential art, word balloons — to present a rich newsworthy story. Fies’ sparsely embellished but expressive figures don monochrome apparel and populate uncomplicated building interiors. He produces explanatory diagrams about fire science and dissects a county’s flawed emergency response program. An integration of digital photos and satellite imagery of Northern California — while discordant at first, clashing with the otherwise clean lines and minimal illustrative style — beckon us in as observers and news consumers.
PositiveHyperallergicIn portraying these conversations, Kugler offers very detailed illustrations of his expressive interviewees ... he\'s meticulous about artful head scarf textures or graphic T-shirts. His thin inked line is sometimes doubled-up, so that shadow-like outlines appear around otherwise finished renderings of his subjects’ arms and legs. It suggests motion, but it’s an effect that also recalls double-exposed photos, which is where Kugler’s journalism begins ... Kugler utilizes captions, oversized header type, and word balloons, too. While the work isn’t always labeled as such and is far more venturesome than what is being produced at mainstream comics publishers, Escaping owes as much to the tradition of comics and sequential art as it does to journalism ... The animated pages in Escaping read like composites of several images, where physical geography is represented fractionally and sitting subjects look to be in motion. The story retains a sketchbook-like sensibility rather than that of formal, finalized storytelling. It’s fitting: Everyone is on the move. Their stories are far from over, and some are still waiting to be told.