Eric Orner, the acclaimed cartoonist of one of the country’s most popular and longest-running gay comic strips, The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, presents his debut graphic novel―a dazzling, irreverent biography of the iconic and iconoclastic Barney Frank, one of the first gay and out congressmen and a front-line defender of civil rights.
There's one thing that's unfortunate about Smahtguy, Eric Orner's sweeping new graphic novel about the life of former Mass. Rep. Barney Frank...It's this: Smahtguy's subject is so powerful, its story so engagingly told, that reviewers will probably concentrate on its success as a narrative...They'll talk about things like pacing, characterization and historical significance rather than about art...And that will be a shame..Smahtguy isn't just a great story, it's an enveloping visual experience crafted by a terrific artist with an amazing line... If Orner's attention to irony is among the most striking aspects of his story, his use of color is among the most striking aspects of his art. Fearlessly, he fills his panels with intense, dramatic colors without fear that they'll overshadow his linework...His glowing yellows, salmon pinks and electric blues blaze off the page, setting his book apart (and hopefully setting a new standard for) today's graphic novels...Orner may have chosen his colors to illustrate what Frank means to him, and to the world...They announce that this is a big book, an important document of an important life...But those bold colors also proclaim a confident, even cocky sense of debut...This author isn't going to be dwelling in the margins anymore.
Orner makes his graphic novel debut with an astute, richly detailed profile of political and gay rights icon Barney Frank...Orner was Frank's former press secretary, and he leverages this insider access to paint a witty, empathetic portrait of a brilliant but lonely and conflicted politician who finally learns to reconcile his professional and personal lives...Orner has a gift for capturing a sense of place, be it the halls of Congress, Boston streets on a sultry summer's evening, or a depressed whaling town, all rendered archly funny, colorful cartooning...Political bios don't get much better than this.
A pleasing graphic life of the longtime Massachusetts congressional representative...As Orner, a former aide, writes in this lively graphic book, Frank, like so many of his generation, was inspired to enter politics by the example of John F. Kennedy, who gave them the 'notion that they could build a better America'...Orner sensitively depicts Frank's coming out and, at the end of his career, his decision to leave Congress and settle with his husband in quiet retirement...But the best part of his book is the unqiet agitation that made Frank, eloquent and stubborn, a bulldog of a fighter on the Hill, representing not just his district, but great masses of disenfranchised, marginalized people in the LGBTQ+, ethnic minority, and labor communities.