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The New Deal Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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"Jonathan Case composes with the flair of Caniff and Toth, playing up the conventions of a classic film romp while turning them on their head, with humor and vivace and a spring in his step. I loved it.”--Craig Thompson
"Case does a terrific job balancing the lightness of a high-society crime spree against the realities of life during the Depression, and he makes the book far more complex than it appears on the surface. The New Deal is a very good comic, and if you enjoyed Case’s work on Batman ’66, you should definitely check it out.”—Comic Book Resources
“The balance between verisimilitude and style infuses the book with a sleek, polished period feel that is both emotionally expressive and painstakingly historically accurate. Truly, this is some of Case’s best work to date and stands as one of the most visually pleasing books of the year.”—Broken Frontier
"The New Deal is a graphic novel that finds a gifted cartoonist at the top of his game, beautifully blending the written word and exceedingly lovely art into something wonderful: a wildly enjoyable comic.”—Sktchd.com
About the Author
Jonathan Case spent his formative years on a boat in Mexico, where he had nary to do but hole up in a cabin and draw, read and plot his escape from paradise. He made it out eventually, traveling to the American south to study performing arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. He is a member of Portland's own Periscope Studio, the largest collective of comics artists and writers in the United States. Case's work can also be found in the Eisner Award-winning anthology Comic Book Tattoo, and on the walls of Portland's McMenamins hotels and pubs. The author lives in Portland, OR..
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I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped by this beautiful graphic novel. It's witty, charming, entertaining, and the coloring fit the time frame perfectly, but I found the story line lacking. It took a majority of the book for it to even come together. Overall it did come together nicely, but I was hoping for it to pack a little more punch. What it lacked in story it definitely made up for in humor.
Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a huge fan of graphic novels and The New Deal is a fine example of why. Published by Dark Horse and written and beautifully illustrated by Jonathan Case, this, his latest graphic novel, is one heck of a fun heist story as well as an homage to the classic caper films of the era. With Case’s attention to both the costumes of the period as well as the Art Deco details of the architecture, it is also a feast for the eyes.
1930's Manhattan is nicely presented and framed. Lots of period touches make almost every panel interesting. Clothes, slang, dropped names, political discussions, attitudes, and class distinctions are true to the 30's, true to New York City, and true to the kinds of people who worked or stayed at the Waldorf.
From men selling apples on the sidewalk, to the Harlem Renaissance, to the right scotch and Chesterfield cigarettes, there is a wealth of detail, both in the drawings and tossed away in conversation, that sets the scene. Political commentary and portrayals of race and class divisions are there, although not addressed in any depth.
It's not quite screwball, although there are a few manic scenes; it's certainly not noir, (I wasn't depressed or hopeless after reading it); it's not entirely consistent in tone. But in a caper film, (sorry, book), the plot doesn't matter that much to me. The hero was an O.K. guy and the heroine was true blue. The femme fatale was a total hoot and had all of the best lines. Cops were dopes and the heavies were heavy without going overboard. The dupes all had it coming.
So, a bit of a lark, nicely crafted, well thought out, and with a good humored underlying vibe, this turned out to be a nice find.
(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-54-days Adobe ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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Art and Story by Jonathan Case
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