MixedThe Comics Journal...exhaustively researched ... he had no way of knowing that it would become intensely, unforgettably relevant again ... Backderf’s narrative, rendered with great detail in his familiar exaggerated style and thoroughly detailed in every panel, sometimes gets a bit heavy-handed. The dialogue, except when drawn from actual contemporary accounts, tries to compress a lot of background information, with the result that it often feels like he’s trying to catch the reader up on what happened in a previous story they hadn’t bothered to read. His deep dive into the background of the political situation that led to the massacre is informative but sometimes intrusive ... Once the shit really starts to come down, Backderf compresses the narrative action beautifully ... By buying into the details so heavily, he makes a story that means something more today – and serves as a warning as we see the story repeated, again and again, every day, always as tragedy.
RaveThe Comics JournalTo say that Joe Sacco is the greatest practitioner of comics journalism working today is an understatement ... Paying the Land may well represent the greatest work he has ever done, and much of its greatness comes from the fact that it accomplishes what only the best journalism can do: it manages to be both timely and timeless at the same moment, telling a story that is acute in its immediacy while also portraying conflicts, struggles, and situations that—as is made clear as it reaches its powerful ending—have the familiarity of the eternal ... it very quickly becomes an even wider and more complicated story, and it is the strength of both this uncommon tragedy and Sacco’s skills as an observer and reporter that make it transcendent in both its sense of loss and its testament to human dignity and determination. Sacco does not shirk from placing clear blame where it needs to be placed, but he also clarifies that while there are easy villains and obvious wrongs, there are no simple remedies and no obvious way out ... Paying the Land is a masterpiece of reporting; it is a brilliant success in putting names and faces on those our system of living has tried to dehumanize, and in remembering what so many would like us to forget.
RaveThe Comics JournalBooks sometimes come around at such a timely moment, and speak to you in such a precise way, that it’s almost alarming ... so close to home I almost dropped The Hard Tomorrow in shock twenty pages in ... Davis’ narrative, which unfolds slowly and then sheds awful layers like a dying plant before its final cathartic and beautiful conclusion, doesn’t just speak to those of us who make it our business to do something about the way the world is heading. Its narrative strength is going beyond its narrow corridors of story, in which we see very few people other than its principles in any depth or color, to remind us that even we don’t seek to change the world, the world comes after us and changes us. The tragedies and victories of Hannah and Johnny skirt around being mere escalations of drama for the sake of plot and make a mad dash towards the end, providing a purely exhilarating reminder that hope and despair are two strands forever intertwined, and that living through both of them is a struggle we all face no matter how we try to position ourselves ... Davis has narrative gifts, but they’d be wasted if she wasn’t such a tremendous illustrator. From the book’s gorgeously colored, Edenic cover to its wordless and striking final pages, her skill at composition buoys the story at every turn, creating a seamless whole that makes it one of the best comics I’ve read in a particularly rich year for the medium. It’s sexy, gripping, funny, dark, and moody, with the outdoor scenes pastoral and bright and the urban drama surrounded by pools of black ink and claustrophobic angles. There are so many perfect little details ... the culmination of a steady progression in [Davis\'] work that is now so fully realized it demands our attention ... this is a book that finds that razor’s edge between irrelevance and datedness and balances there with the expertise of a gymnast.
RaveThe Comics Journal... moving, disturbing, magnificent ... isn’t a book with a political axe to grind, in which ideology stands in for our personal problems; it’s a book that illustrates how politics is inextricable from our emotional lives, and functions as both an influence on and a reflection of our interior lives ... drawn with all of James Sturm’s potent strengths. Its simple layout belies the great sophistication of the panel composition, and his use of shadings within the gray palate is absolutely stunning. While there isn’t the dynamic range of action that characterizes his 2001 masterpiece, The Golem Mighty Swing, he can still infuse the simplest movements with an incredible sense of motion.
PositiveThe Comics Journal\"...a gorgeous graphic novel ... there is a razor’s breadth between an author showing us characters who have trouble communicating and a text failing to communicate with the reader, and The Lie doesn’t always land on the right side of that distance ... The Lie and How We Told It, as much as it is satisfied leaving us in the company of two people who barely know themselves, does so with an aesthetic brilliance that commands our attention in a way its characters cannot. It’s one of the most strikingly executed books I’ve seen in years, and Parrish’s talents are impossible to ignore. It’s pretty annoying that we still have to remind people that comics are a visual medium, but here, the distinction is as vital as it is needed. Wherever there is weakness or uncertainty in the text, it is bolstered by beauty and boldness in the art, and the result is a book that reads better than it’s written.\