Drawing Names

May 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

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Last November, when we visited Montreal, we made a trip to Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, an edgy bookshop known for its sweet selection of graphic novels. This is from Mile End, by Michel Hellman, which I have been reading slowly with Bing Translate close at hand. Though I took five years of French in school and two more semesters in college, I don’t hear it well enough to maintain a conversation. Reading the words essentially as captions to illustrations has provided a fun and useful way to brush up on my French and learn about life in the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal (where Librairie Drawn & Quarterly happens to be).

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Perhaps with cartoons on the brain, yesterday I went for a walk into town and came back with Michael Tisserand’s Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White, an exquisitely designed brick about the curious life of the man who created Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse.

Herriman was born in New Orleans, of Creole descent to a family that took pains to hide its African-American heritage. That peculiar backstory seems to inform a lot of the mischief and anarchy that came through in the Krazy Kat comics. This is going to take me a while to get through.

 

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