Fall 2018 sees the culmination of more than 20-years’ work in the release of Jason Lutes’ final volume of his “Berlin” graphic novel trilogy, simultaneous with a 580-page omnibus of all three. Seven Days writer Pamela Polston called it a “masterwork in the comics medium.” Lutes calls it “visual storytelling.”
“Aside from the sheer quantity of drawing and writing that went into the books, Berlin’s visual inventiveness, sharp observation and emotional impact have elicited gushing praise from early reviewers,” Polston said. “And, given its subject matter — the dissolution of Germany’s Weimar Republic and the rise of fascism — the graphic novel reads as eerily prescient in the current political climate.”
The historical-fiction series “delves into the sharply rendered tales of people so wrapped up in their daily lives that they sometimes can be oblivious to the larger shifting of Germany’s political tectonic plates,” wrote Michael Cavna in his Washington Post review.
“Book One: City of Stones” (2000) covers the eight months in Berlin between September 1928 and the lethal May Day demonstration of 1929, looking at the shadow of the coming war through the everyday lives of the city’s citizens.
“Book Two: City of Smoke” (2008) continues the story after the May Day demonstration, as tensions build and the transformation continues “from a liberal metropolis into a fascist stronghold.”
“Book Three: City of Light” (2018) begins with Hitler arriving in Berlin.
Drawn and Quarterly publishing executive editor Tom Devlin told the Washington Post he “sees in Lutes a cartoonist operating at the peak of his talent.”
Lutes lives in Hartland, and is an adjunct educator at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Jct.