08: A Graphic Diary of the Campaign Trail by Michael Crowley and Dan Goldman

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08: A Graphic Diary of the Campaign Trail
By Michael Crowley and Dan Goldman
Three Rivers Press

michaelcrowley08coverThe non-fiction graphic novel has, by most accounts been largely neglected. Those well-received works that have ventured into that world—Maus, Palestine, Perselopis, et al.—have largely been content to bide by independent comics’ fiction with the first-person narrative. This fact takes nothing away from their staggering importance to the medium—all of the above bravely tackled difficult and important issues while bringing comics a new-found level of respect both among the literati and a mainstream readership.

Their fixation with the memoir does, however, point to a seemingly fundamental hang up with the style—illustrated by that troublesome label “graphic novel,” a term which, in its very essence, implies some form of fictionalization, or, at the very least, the sort of first-person storytelling that often designates prose books for the fiction shelves. In a sense, it also points to a problem with scope.

There are few sufficiently educated in the world of sequential art who would argue that the medium presents more limitations its prose counterparts.  But as is often the case, it takes an outsider to shake things up. Michael Crowley’s 08 is hardly the first book to prevent a news-styled piece of graphic non-fiction, but it certainly is a member of a far rarer breed than one might reasonably expect.

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