May 20, 2017

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Graphic Nonfiction: Ben Passmore on those New Orleans Monuments

It's awesome that New Orleans is finally taking down their statues that honor the legacy of racism and murder, and I say that as a person who has probably read more on the Civil War than about 90% of America. We can no longer tolerate leaving these statues up (or, if they must be up, surround them with the context of their hate, which was the solution Baltimore, MD came up with).

As the push to knock hate off its pedestal was reaching critical mass, Ben Passmore over at our friends The Nib took some time to explain just what was going on. I bring attention to that column here as a way to celebrate a little victory against hate in an era where bigots and racists run the Executive Branch. We can fight and win!

Plus, I really dig Ben's style on this comic. He adopts a very conversational style, while continuing t give you the context you need. His comics use exaggeration, little manga-ish side arrows, and a bit of creator insertion into the narrative. Here's a few panels to show you what I mean:



You can and should read the whole comic here.

It's a take on non-fiction comics that blends the research of a third-person article with a bit of the flair of an auto-bio comic, even as we realize it's unlikely that some scenes happened as depicted. This feels like someone writing a comic column, and it's a neat idea. This wouldn't work for every subject, but Ben really nails it here, keeping the reader engaged (and angry, I hope), while still making sure you know the history, including political reluctance to get rid of these damn things.

By now, we have a bit of an ending for the story, with the monuments going down one by one. I hope Ben was there to see it and get the last laugh on those who hold these pathetic, horrible figures in a place of honor.