...a must-read comic ... Alagbé plays with expressive lines, with race, with the hint of love and sex, and the way that love and sex and race intersect in France ... What appears on its face to be a story about the experience of African migrants trying to subsist in ’90s Paris quickly becomes about the mores surrounding interracial romance in France, race and class in France, France’s colonial history in Algeria, and the tensions that these forces exert on the individual. Illustrated in a style that oscillates between intensely worked-over figuration, where the hairs and skin textures of characters is visible, and simple, expressive sketches of urban life, Alagbé offers readers something poetic and moving. The story is messy and uncomfortable, but it is striking and moving in equal measure.
The stories in this graphic novel are about the truths — subtle, sad and surreal — that statistics can never capture ... This story, like the others in the book, is drawn in thick strokes of uncompromising black on white. Alagbé's ink feels more like paste — dense and chunky — and though his characters are sometimes poised in webs of painstaking lines, more often his scenes seem to burst onto the white page in a discordant frenzy that disturbs the eye ... Alagbé uses his sparse palette to deliver a potent message about how race is portrayed in Western comics.
Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures is not an easy book. Its harsh chiaroscuro inks, fractured storytelling, and defiant politics reshape the reader’s brain in real time ... absolutely necessary. Race, color, class, gender, and violence are all ruthlessly dissected ... one of the most arresting comics works to hit stands in a good long while.