- Paperback: 122 pages
- Publisher: NBM ComicsLit (July 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1561635332
- ISBN-13: 978-1561635337
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,080,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ordinary Victories: What Is Precious (Pt. 2) Paperback – July 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Completing the story that began with the award-winning Ordinary Victories (2005), this album from French-Belgian Larcenet shows depressive, panic-prone photographer Marco continuing to search for reasons to stay alive. The overall style resembles that of Herge's Tin-Tin: realistic setting (though sketched rather roughly) through which cartoony characters move. Larcenet's characters, however, resemble the Peanuts cast—if readers can imagine a shaggier, big-nosed Charley Brown trying to cope with his father's suicide, his girlfriend's need to have a baby and his sense of political irrelevance. Marco tries to do right by his family responsibilities while discovering how his photos honorably testify to the value of his subjects so that his profession has significance. The story doesn't tie things up neatly by giving one pat solution to the question of why we should go on living. Instead, it accomplishes something that comics can do especially well by juxtaposing bits of life, panels that celebrate happiness next to ones drenched in anger, necessary solitude balanced by companionship. By uniting those conflicting images together within himself, Marco discovers the strength to go on. This is a subtle, powerful work, using the tools of comic art beautifully. (July)
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*Starred Review* Near the end of the first half of his story (Ordinary Victories, 2005), photojournalist Marco learned that his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father had killed himself. This half opens with Marco and Emily helping his mother clean out her husband’s leavings. She cherishes the memories, not the stuff, but since she knows her elder son, she gives him his father’s journal and cache of mementos, mostly photographs. Marco is enraged by the neutral observations in the journal, disturbed by the photo of his father in the army, standing beside his sergeant—the old man Marco befriended in the first book, then spurned after learning of his past. Now Marco goes to the man and discovers his father’s unfitness for soldiering and the sergeant’s kindness in getting him out of harm’s way. Simultaneously, Marco is working toward acceding to Emily’s desire for a child. A falling-out with his angrily grieving brother, more of the panic attacks that short-circuited his war-photographer career, and, a few years on, his little daughter’s vigorous love and the closing of the shipyard he documented for his professional comeback are just some of the big developments before the peaceful, domestic ending of this masterpiece, the best example of graphic-novel realism to date. --Ray Olson
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Right now I'm reading it for the second time and enjoying it even more than I did the first time. The pictures are really beautiful and so simple. After having finished it the first time I remember crying because I had been so touched. The story is simple. It is so every day and probably speaks to something within everyones life. I'm most impressed with the artwork and the truly authentic as well as humorous at time, dialogues and relationships that unfold within the story.
A real gem to read and re-read.
Marco doesn't know where he is going to or what he wants to do next. He has spent the last eight years receiving therapy and working as a photographer, but he doesn't want to do that any more. He stops seeing his therapist, and now has panic attacks, lives way outside town and he has a girlfriend.
His girlfriend would like to move their relationship to the next level and get a place together, but Marco just wants things to remain the same. Unfortunately, as he discovers, things don't remain the same and even the things that you think you are familiar with have a tendency to change .
This is book one of a four part series of books which are currently being translated into English from their original French. It is an interesting story and I am hoping to read the others. There is so much to be revealed about Marco and I want to know what happens to Him.
The artwork here is excellent. I really enjoyed the graphics and the colours and I think the text was just sufficient to convey the story. This is well worth reading and I definitely want to read the others.
Copy provided via net galley in exchange for an unbiased review.
Marco was a photographer and spent enough time taking photos of dead bodies, that he's found himself in therapy. He's tired of that, and really doesn't want to work, so he moves to a remote village to try to get by. He takes up with a cat named Adolf and gets to know the quirky neighbors. There is the neighbor with the shotgun and the private property signs, and there is the weird, silent one who just kind of shows up and eats Marco's food. Marco also meets Emilie and she challenges him to rejoin the world around him.
The story feels like non-fiction almost. The category is definitely drama with a bit of humor thrown in. The art style feels a bit weird for this story, but I found myself feeling for this character, so I wouldn't mind a chance to find out what happens next with him.
I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Europe Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
Marc is in a state of ennui, debilitating panic attacks and transformation. He is not happy with his life and he hides this unhappiness initially by going all over the world and taking photographs of people far worse off than him: transforming this impulse into art. But when this fails him and he finds himself in a romantic relationship, he realizes he is in the process of change. In the background of this story, set in France, is also the still very real ghost of the French-Algerian War. It affects his brother who is married to an Algerian woman, his father who had been a soldier in that war, the very politics of France as the right-wing are depicted coming into power, and even Marc himself when he realizes some stark truths about some of the people he gets to know and also himself and his own views on life: namely, his sheer terror of it. Marc ends up having to make some decisions about what it is really important in his existence and just what kind of art he wants to depict from his own life.
Ordinary Victories was originally split into two separate books, but here they are united into the single narrative that they are. Sometimes, the translation from its original French is a little choppy but all in all it portrays what is going on very well. Readers might be confused by references to French and Continental art and philosophy. Certainly, I was confused by a section in which various profiles of famous people are depicted. I still do not know who they all are and their presence is not explained but placed there as what seems to be a given: as something the reader-audience should know already from cultural exposure.
However, the art is excellent. Manu Larcenet seemingly takes a cue from Herge and creates very elemental cartoon figures that have very specific and distinctive features. The colourist Patrice Larcenet is also brilliant at using bright colours and different shades of colour. Two scenes come to mind where Marco is talking with his brother and his father outside and you can see that even while they retain their cartoonish shapes, the light and shadow plays on them as they would any shape in our own three-dimensional world. There is a definite focal point in the work between the realistic and the iconic that functions well. The black and red jagged depiction of Marc's own panic attacks are well done too: leaving you with that feeling of just how jarring they are and why he needs to arrange his life around their awfulness.
I'm not sure if the origins of Marc's attacks are ever really explained, and the ending of the entire story does seem very abrupt somehow, but in some ways it also works out in a way. I think the best way that this work can be summed up is with the quote that Larcenet uses at the beginning of the book: "You could not say they were slaves / But from there to say they lived ..." This phrase itself says a lot about society and though I wonder at the translation as well, it does suit the content and structure of this book. I can see why it won the top award in the Angouleme comics event and it is definitely worth reading.