Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution
Written by: Julia Alekseyeva
Art by: Julia Alekseyeva
Publisher: Microcosm Publishing
Soviet Daughter is Julia Alekseyeva’s graphic memoir, telling in parallel the story of her life as an immigrant to the US and her great-grandmother Lola’s life in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Both women have to deal with their own difficulties and tragedies, but Julia’s tribulations can’t remotely compare with the things that Lola has to deal with as a Jew in Ukraine and the Soviet Union, and the strongest, most interesting parts of the book are definitely Lola’s story. It also goes to great pains to show that while misery was ever-present during the world wars, the pograms and the endless cycles of disease and famine in the USSR, there was also drinking and love and young people being young people. One of the most difficult things in writing the story of someone you love is in editing, and if anything Soviet Daughter gives too much detail about Lola’s various friends and bosses, so that they distract from the overall narrative arc.
The art is monochromatic, and cluttered, with both typed and handwritten lettering to differentiate Julia’s narration of events from the actual events as they happen.
Che: A Graphic Biography
Written by: Sid Jacobson
Art by: Ernie Colon
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Che is exactly what it says on the tin: a graphic bio of Latin American Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, who played a prominent role most notably in the Cuban and Bolivian revolutions.
This is a good overview of both Che’s life and the broader political context in which he operated, though it would have profited from being about twice as long, and piling all that extraneous detail from Soviet Daughter into it. Che had an amazing life, the highlights of which are pretty well known, so it would have been nice to have delved into more obscure areas or expanded on his relationships and interior life as opposed to the bare historical facts.
The art is full color and at times almost too stylized and jovial for he events being depicted (massacres, etc.)