You’ll Never Know v.2: Collateral Damage
Written & Illustrated by C. Tyler
Published by Fantagraphics
The second (of three) volume in Carol Tyler’s memoir, You’ll Never Know: Collateral Damage, continues to address Tyler’s relationship with her World War II veteran father, as he finally opens up and reveals his experiences in the European theatre. However, the emotional meat of the book comes from seeing how Tyler deals with her parents, her wandering husband and her trouble-bound daughter.
You’ll Never Know is ostensibly about Tyler and her father’s war experiences, but she’s ultimately explaining how her father’s experiences shaped him, and how he in turn molded her. Though her father remains a constant presence throughout the book, Tyler is pulled in many directions.
The process of exploring her complicated reactions to the familial conflicts that she faces – including a husband who needs to find himself, a drunk and underage daughter, and various emotional and health crises revolving around her parents – forces Tyler to reach deep into her psyche. She admits to frustrations and fears, revealing aspects of herself and her family that few would have the courage to admit. And her father isn’t the only person revealing untold stories – Tyler’s mother also unfolds the tragic tale of her firstborn daughter.
Graphically, Tyler’s pages match the complexity of her inner turmoil. Using techniques such as depicting a convoluted conversation as a series of overlapping ribbons weaving through one another, she’s able to depict the chaos of her family and their relations. Contrasting, her father’s WWII memories, a time when his life was ordered and made sense, are shown in clear, lock-stock three-tier, page-wide panels. Each sequence seems to have been carefully considered, and designed and laid out to effectively communicate not only information, but the experience of the moment.
Emotionally uncompromising and graphically challenging, You’ll Never Know v.2: Collateral Damage stands out as one of the best comics of the year. Tyler reaches deep into herself, showing the unending dominoes of influence that compose a family. Do yourself a favor and check it out.