Monday, November 16, 2009

Thunderhead Underground Falls by Joel Orff

Jack meets a young woman he really connects with on one of his last days before he ships out with the army. It is bitterly cold outdoors and they spend as much time together as possible. She tells him, "If only you'd met me sooner. I would have talked you out of joining the army." Jack admits to being afraid. His greatest fear is that, "I won't see things the same when I get back. It's all gonna be different. I'll be different."

A quiet story told almost entirely in pictures, Thunderhead Underground Falls rewards patient examination of the black and white artwork. In a dream sequence, for example, a nightmarish toy store displays bags marked 'missing persons,' unknown animals' and 'strangers with beards.' Grade 10 - adult.

Similar comic-format stories that examine how it feels to come of age: Ghost World by Daniel Clowes; Summer of Love by Debbie Drechsler; Sloth by Gilbert Hernandez; Night Fisher by Kikuo Johnson; Perfect Example by John Porcellino; Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell and At a Crossroads by Kate Williamson.

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