One of our most exciting 2017 releases was Monet: Itinerant of Light from writer Salva Rubio and illustrator Efa.
Itinerant of Light chronicles the life of the great French painter Claude Monet, one of the founders of Impressionism.
Here are three notable reviews:
Booklist (starred review)
Monet has loudly maintained, all along, that he’s the leader of the impressionists. But in 1880, six years after the first impressionist show scandalized the critics, Renoir convinces him he can’t continue fighting old battles. Like Renoir and also Sisley, Cézanne, and Pissarro, Monet has to make a living, and staying with the impressionists is guaranteed poverty. Besides, most critics were starting to warm up to impressionism. Before Efa and Rubio get there, though, they dwell on Monet’s early years of struggle, beginning with his 1862 arrival in Paris and extending just beyond his first wife Camille’s death, in 1879. And well they should, for Monet’s long road to success is a real-life artistic legend that ranks with those of Beethoven, Brahms, Van Gogh, and very few others. Framing it with Monet’s double cataract-removal in 1923, Rubio and Efa insert several masterpieces in the background and let their subject’s obsession with light enrich their fine work of mainstream European comics. An appendix discusses the background paintings, the originals of which appear alongside Efa’s adaptations and sometimes by themselves. Because Efa injects so much of Monet into his own style and Rubio presents fact as fact and conjecture as conjecture, many may think this the best of the many recent comics biographies of artists.
Library Journal (starred review)
For their English-language debut, Spanish creators Rubio and Efa join forces in this biography of French painter Claude Monet (1840–1926), one of the founders of impressionism. The story opens with Monet as an old man recovering from cataract surgery. As he awaits the return of his eyesight, he reminisces about his past. What follows is a pretty straightforward telling of his life, from his early days as a rebel student to his relationships with fellow artists Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and others. We witness his early struggles, financial hardships, creative conflicts, and eventually great success, all in an effort to capture the light and beauty in nature. Monet himself narrates, and most of the text focuses on that narration, which allows the imagery to open and explore much of the same visual landscape that occupies his paintings. Efa’s illustrations are stunning; full of strong, lush color and bold impressionistic brush strokes that call forth Monet’s style but never imitate. Many panels are designed to resemble the painter’s work in order for us to see the world as he did.
Verdict This beautiful, evocative story will please fans of biography, art history, and impressionism. Highly recommended.
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
This evocative homage to one of the titans of modern art is both a collectible and a joy to read. As an aged Claude Monet endures temporary blindness after cataract surgery, he reviews his past: stubborn struggles against the fossilized art establishment, painfully impoverished and transient family life, and the devout (even obsessive) pursuit of natural light in his painting. One of Monet’s early works gave the name “Impressionism” to the innovative approach of a group of young artists who wanted to catch on canvas the immediate visual impact of experience. Efa captures some of that fresh outlook in his luminous illustration of Rubio’s intelligent biographical script, and a well-selected gallery section that follows the narrative lets readers follow Monet’s astonishing efforts to establish himself as an artist, which culminated in his creation of a perfect painterly environment in his estate at Giverny. The large-format binding allows room for the dynamic panel and color design. The quality of the loving production make this a landmark in serious comics about art.
Breaking the 10 volume 2 is available now in Diamond Dec Preview catalog.
And here is their mention of volume 1, which is listed again this month:
Get volume 1 and 2 in Decembers Previews catalog, page 377,
Code for volume 2: DEC17 1696
With Volume 1 of the book re-listed, code: DEC171697
NBM’s page for the book HERE
And more pages from the book can be seen on my website HERE
While we’re very happy our sister co. Papercutz and its SuperGenius imprint got The Wendy Project into a GN roundup in the NYT Book Review this Sunday, I was shocked to still see NOT ONE graphic novel makes the 100 notable list for 2017 in that same issue.
And its editor-in-chief professes to be a fan. So what? When all you do is a once in a blue moon ’round-up’ for graphic novels, rarely it seems covering in full reviews any. Or did I miss anything?
Meantime, the Washington Post has Michael Cavna regularly talking about them, reviewing them, same can be said for other newspapers. Although I will say there are a number of important ones out there that are just as clueless in how to get a younger audience interested in their publications as comics and pop culture coverage would appeal to them.
Oh yes, George Gustines gets to do the occasional news piece… every few months (!).
Lack of depth in coverage of graphic novels is just, well, infuriating, knowing the great work from all over the world being published in our medium.
[revised 12/4 seeing a couple GNs did appear in the Children’s list].
The stellar reviews keep coming in for PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN! Win Wiacek, writing from the UK on his NOW READ THIS blog, has proclaimed the book as a…
“thoughtful and totally immersive glimpse of a life both remarkable and inescapably pedestrian:a reflection on common humanity and day-to-day existence with all the lethal pitfalls they conceal and joys they promise.”
Wiacek also says adds that PRIDE is a “seductively sedate, powerfully evocative and poignantly human-scaled fable of a guy with no hope and the odds stacked against him from the get-go…”
To close out the piece, Win mention this as a great comic to hand to even a non-comics-fan, and a musical pairing suggestion was made – a recommendation to spin Bob Seger’s “Mainstreet” while reading the book. I’ll have to try that myself.
I’d also add another musical pairing – “Tender Years” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, from the cult hit movie soundtrack Eddie & The Cruisers. There’s just the right amount of passion and nostalgia in that song to go along with Andrew’s story. Readers with a keen eye for detail will also notice Eddie Wilson’s iconic cut-off black shirt is the same one worn by Andrew Peters.
To read the review in full, go here.
For more about PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN, including how to order, go to NBM Graphic Novels.
Thanks for reading!
Library Journal has given Pride Of The Decent Man a fantastic advance review on their site, calling it;
“A complex story told in a thoughtful, moving manner,” and “Highly recommended for anyone trying to be a better, decent person.”
They also describe the “Beautiful if often sad color drawings and spare dialogue” that fill the volume.
This review means a great deal, particularly because of its association with libraries, which can easily open up a new world of graphic novels to younger and new readers.
For those who aren’t aware of Library Journal, their site describes itself as “the most trusted and respected publication for the library community. Built on more than a century of quality journalism and reviews.”
Read the full review here.
To learn more about Pride Of The Decent Man, including how to order your own copy, go here.