EXIT WOUNDS and IT'S A GOOD LIFE in The Telegraph UK

“Telegraph UK Review - Exit Wounds It's A Good Life” / The Telegraph UK / Telegraph Staff / August 2, 2007

Koby, a young taxi-driver in Tel Aviv, is approached by a stranger. She tells him that she's convinced a body, burned beyond identification in a recent suicide bombing, is that of her lover, his estranged father. Uneasily, they set out to investigate what happened. Their search, and its conclusions, surprise them both.

Rutu Modan's panels are restrained, her palette warm, her lines clean and the faces of her characters at once diagrammatic - in a sort of Julian Opie way - and expressive. The pages look simple, but the story is not. The economical-but-expressive quality of her drawing is echoed by the narrative, which intermixes political tension, private complexity, and the texture of daily life.

Exit Wounds is the real thing. Modan brings you a world entire. The final panel of this tender and strange story offers an image half-hopeful, suspended in air. A wonderful book, and beautifully published to boot.

It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth

The hero of this "picture novella" is called Seth. He is a cartoonist, rather depressive and neurotic, who affects round glasses and a fedora and hates modern life. He tends to push women away. He imagines that he'd have been happier in the 1940s or 1950s, but then catches himself imagining it and realises how absurd the idea is.

Seth's brushwork (or nib-work) consciously harks back to the old-style New Yorker cartoonists, and his strips are in retro-style, two-colour format with a blue tone. This tells the story of his infatuation with, and quest to find out more about, an obscure gag cartoonist called Kalo, whose style resembles his own, after spotting one of his drawings in a 1951 New Yorker.

This is classic modern comics hipster stuff: downbeat, introverted, but exquisite of its kind.

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