Sunday, April 14, 2013

Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes

I stumbled on Book 1 & 2 during the Dartmouth Strange Adventures Christmas sale. They were liquidating some damaged and unwanted stock. I got both books for 3 dollars a piece. I thought it was a great deal. I didn't know anything about the book except what one could make from the title. I assumed it had something to do with the war. I wasn't far off. Berlin starts 1928. It jumps around a little, going back ten years and forward again, all to end during the May Day riot in 1929.

The story centres around a 29 year old female artist who takes a train to Berlin to study practical art in university. As one can imagine, it wasn't terribly common for women to participate in practical studies. Marthe runs into a lot of chauvinism and only finds one female comrade in school.. who takes a liking to her that she didn't quite expect.  Marthe Muller's train ride meets her quite unexpectedly with a middle aged journalist named Severing. Much of the story follows them. Gudrun is another character sadly riddled with poverty. Her husband abandons her and her two daughters, taking their son and joining Hitler's cause. Gudrun finds hope in a communist co-op and joins a road crew to provide for her daughters. It's all very sad and desolate, if not completely depressing.

I like that Lutes has displayed the thoughts of passers by and main characters alike. In fact there is a lot that Lutes creates that I love. His minimalistic panels make me happy.