Nick Drnaso and Sabrina profiled in The New Yorker
We're jazzed to say that Nick Drnaso was profiled in the January 21st issue of The New Yorker, and you can also read it online. The profile gets into the anxieties that drove Nick to write Sabrina, Chicago's cartoonist community, and the experiences that have inspired his work. With great nuance, journalist DT Max offers valuable insight into the subject matter of the book and Nick's approach to it. Read an excerpt below:
“Sabrina is the intimate story of one man’s suffering, but it also captures the political nihilism of the social-media era—a time when a President can dismiss the murder of a journalist by saying of the perpetrator, “Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t.”
As part of Drnaso’s research for Sabrina, he listened to podcasts of Infowars, the extremist radio show hosted by Alex Jones. The words of Jones and his guests were repellent, but they told a story, and he could imagine how even their distorted world views could provide listeners with a perverse consolation. In one of the more arresting turns in Sabrina, Teddy wanders around Calvin’s house, looking for a way to kill himself, and comes across a radio; he begins listening to an Infowars-style broadcast. He is strangely comforted by the host’s heartless speculation about Sabrina’s death—it mirrors his own numbness.
Drnaso finished his draft in the spring of 2017. He had created a comic whose drab tonalities and deliberate slowness challenged a genre that leans toward the overheated. Reading Sabrina feels almost like an antidote to the hectic Web sites its characters are so immersed in: some pages are simply panels of a character getting wordlessly into his car and going from one undistinguished place to another. Most of the panels have only one character in them, and are subtle in their virtuosity. One scene is presented from the point of view of laptop cameras, as Calvin and his daughter, who is in Florida, have a video chat. Calvin’s unspoken hope for connection is expressed by the way he grows larger from one panel to the next—he is leaning into his screen. When his daughter loses interest and walks away, Calvin sits back, and looks literally deflated. Effects like these impressed Drnaso’s fellow-cartoonists. Roz Chast told me that he “gets across a mood that’s very unsettling, in a way that I’ve never quite come across before, at least in graphic novels.”
DT Max, The New Yorker
Read in full here.