June 22, 2016

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Graphic Nonfiction Special: A Look at UK's EU Vote by Tom Humberstone

Normally, we run graphic nonfiction on the weekend, but given the historic vote taking place in the UK tomorrow, I've decided to run this today. Courtesy of one of my favorite sources of nonfiction comics, The Nib, Tom Humberstone takes an extensive look at the troubled history of the UK and the EU, as well as the pros and cons of being part of the EU.

Unlike knee-jerk reactions that may appear elsewhere, Humberstone doesn't pretend that it's all jerks who want the UK to remove itself from the continent (though that side seems to be where the hateful people are congregating, due to those who are anti-immigration thinking leaving the EU will make it easier to be bigots), pointing out some of the EU's flaws.

But he also brings up the things that make the EU essential to the UK's progress into a better 21st Century, eventually coming down on the side of union--with the promise of doing more to make the EU better together, rather than separately.

Obviously, it's very complex, and I won't pretend to understand it. Hell, I have enough trouble with the mine field of politics here in the United States. But I am appreciative of Humberstone's explanation.

Here's a few panels as an exception. You should read the piece in full here.





 Visually, Humberstone resembles Panel Pal Andy Warner's structure: A lot of rectangular panels, carefully researched facts, extensive use of historical figures, and key visuals that work in harmony with the text, but never competing with it. In a few cases, the text overwhelms the panels, which Warner eschews, but overall, this feels like a nonfiction comic, and not just an illustrated article.*

Humberstone's color choices are primarily a dull pink and various shades of blue, which stand out against the monitor screen, and aren't necessarily meant to be realistic. His likenesses are strong, and the illustrations flow across each panel. They aren't stiff or still--even standing figures move slightly.

It's a great combination, and an informative one. So whether or not you're in the UK, this is one to look up, as a starting point if nothing else. No matter what, the UK is about to make a huge decision--one that will impact more than just its residents. We can only hope everyone, regardless of how they vote, will be as thoughtful as Humberstone.

*There's nothing wrong with illustrated articles, but they aren't a comic.