Twenty years ago, cartoonist Jason Lutes began making a graphic-novel portrait of the city of Berlin, showing, in intimate detail, the lives of residents set against the rise of Nazism.
“Berlin,’’ released this month by Drawn & Quarterly, collects all 11 installments of this magnificent work of historical fiction, a swift and vivid look at the impact that a shifting political landscape has on the lives of regular people, from homeless legless veterans to cabaret performers, journalists to artists, and kids selling newspapers on the street.
In striking black-and-white images, and elegant use of language, Lutes, who lives in Vermont and teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies, tells a story that feels of the moment in America.
Combining sweeping street scenes and dropping into the heads and thoughts of many of the city’s inhabitants, “Berlin’’ tells us a story we know in a way that’s new, one that allows us a fresh look at yesterday and begs comparisons with today. Lutes will discuss Berlin at the Boston Book Festival on Oct. 13.