The library is a great place for readers to discover comics, and it’s a great place for comics readers to check out things that they want to try without spending their hard-earned cash. I’m looking at comics that I find in the New York Public Library system.
Disaster and Resistance is important comics. I enjoy a fun, escapist adventure as much as anybody, but I also feel that as a human being, it’s my responsibility to pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Given my general lack of interest in most typical political discourse, smartly written and well drawn comics are a welcome option. Disaster and Resistance collect comics created by Seth Tobocman over the past several years, with a particular focus on the plight of the disenfranchised “slum” denizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also visits Israel to gain firsthand knowledge of the living conditions faced by Palestinians and
Tobocman’s a good reporter, often illustrating people he’s met in headline-grabbing locales, and using their own words to explore the problems that they face from their own perspectives. If he has a failing, it’s what I think of as Michael Moore-ism. Even when you agree with Tobocman, he sometimes paints those he disagrees with (the Right, Corporations) as cartoonishly nasty caricatures, dismissing others’ perspectives as maliciously evil rather than looking into some of the greyer nuances between two polar positions. He spends a great deal of time examining perspectives of former New Orleans slum residents, however, exhibiting a far greater deal of care.
A powerful illustrator, Tobocman uses black & white, woodcut-style pages for many stories, but also mixes in full-color painted sequences. Each style suits the mood and temperament of the narrative unfolding, and his ability to capture abstract ideas in physical form is admirable.
A great looking comic that’s smart and examines the causes of disenfranchised and lost citizens of the world, Disaster and Resistance is a comic that we should all read. Even when you disagree with him, Seth Tobocman makes some great point and he’s trying to let you know about important people who are facing terrible circumstances. It’s good to know that we have cartoonists like this out there, alerting us to what’s going on, and that we can find their work in the local library.