Neri does a sterling job of telling a complex story—even its byzantine legal aspects—in a way that younger readers will understand, and he keeps it racing along with a skillfully constructed plot. The pen-and-ink graphics by illustrator Corban Wilkin (Breaker’s End) are muscular and inviting, giving both Ruffu and her horse a bit of superhero glow.
This gripping seven-part exposé lifts the veil on corruption in the horse racing industry and introduces one of the sport's pioneers ... Wilkin's boldly outlined pen-and-ink art is all angles and scratchy lines, expertly conveying emotions and action sequences. Appended photographs of the subjects enrich the work, as does a call-to-action afterword from Ruffu ... Superb. Ruffu's tenacity and the book's satisfying conclusion will appeal to fans of John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell's March trilogy.
Neri streamlines personal events of Ruffu’s life, highlighting the central social-justice drama to full, agonizing effect. Wilkin abets by balancing realism with gently rounded and slightly exaggerated features that foreground the emotional stakes. The graphic-novel world isn’t full of true stories about nearly 60-year-old women of color who refuse to back down from wealthy white men exploiting (and further corrupting) a corrupt system. Grand Theft Horse feels all the more timely and urgent because of it.
Using thick outlines, grainy backgrounds, and unflattering depictions, artwork by Wilkin...evokes Will Eisner’s drawings and articulates the story’s descent into a dark world around racehorses and animal care. Neri’s storytelling captures the everyday dedication and sacrifice behind Ruffu’s tale and manages to feel both potent and unpretentious.
The pen-and-ink illustrations vividly capture the drama of this riveting tale that will provoke readers to ponder the ethics of our treatment of animals who suffer for human entertainment as well as the actions of a woman who broke the law to stand up for her principles and the horse she loved. Amid the strife and sadness there are moments of joy and passion, and the message of standing up for your convictions makes this a necessary tale.