John Porcellino’s skinny, slightly tremulous freehand line reduces everything and everyone to their simplest forms, as in a small child’s drawing if the child in question happened to be a devastatingly expressive minimalist. Porcellino is known for his autobiographical comics (collected in several volumes, most recently “Map of My Heart”), but THE NEXT DAY (Pop Sandbox, paper, $16.95; available in comics stores; on sale in general-interest bookstores this fall) covers new and darker ground. Written by Paul Peterson and Jason Gilmore, it’s based on interviews with four people who attempted to kill themselves.
Their stories are each edited down to a few lines that suggest the rest: what drove them toward suicide, how they tried to do it, what came afterward, how they regard that time now. One woman describes how, at 18, she lay in bed crying for three days, “until my parents took me to the doctor.” Porcellino draws her as a set of closed-in curves, squirming just a little, for five consecutive panels; in the page’s sixth panel, the bed is empty. Every few pages, Porcellino presents a silent scene — rain falling on a tree and a house — as the book pauses to breathe. Then, finally, the rain abates, and we see the house again, the four narrators together outside of it, alive.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Whoot! Props to PopSandbox! The Next Day Graphic Novel Featured in the NYTimes Book Review - Comics Roundup - NYTimes.com