The Grand Re-Opening by Sam Fellman and Kevin Cannon

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The Grand Re-Opening
By Sam Fellman and Kevin Cannon

At a thin eight pages, The Grand Re-Opening is more a meditation than anything else. With a script penned by Sam Fellman, a naval lieutenant serving in Iraq, the book wastes little time setting up a scene in the midst of that war-torn nation, and is over nearly as quickly as it began.

The author devotes no time waxing political on the perpetually hot-button topic of US occupation of Iraq, and if he intended to slip in some manner of judgment on the matter, he’s done an admirable job masking it. The book instead is a brief snapshot—an anecdote unfolding in a few hours out in the field, and even as some of the events that occur over the course of the story might easily be interpreted as vindication for one side or the other, fanning an already heated debated seems far from his mind.

Fellman paints his story with nearly poetic cadence, through narration that completely dominates the book’s text, an effect compounded by the decision to break the words up into stanzas. The text offers a touch of background at the beginning, but largely backs off from over-explanation after a couple of pages, opting instead to let Kevin Cnanon’s art tell much of the story. The method allows the author the ability to occasionally fall back on slightly more fanciful speech than standard narration might otherwise warrant.

Cannon, for his part, lays the tale out like a picture book, eschewing panels in favor of a one picture to page ratio, a decision no doubt reached, at least in part, because of the relative lack of accompanying text. The layout also thankfully prevents the art from overwhelming the sparse but deep text, and Cannon, an artist clearly capable of executing ambitious pages keeps his artwork happily understated, allotting Fellman’s text the power it deserves.

–Brian Heater

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