These two comics fantastically reinvent historical events: the dancing plague and the first monkeys in space
“The dancing plague” (OGN)
Art and History by Gareth Brooks
Comment from Félix Whetsel
The great Escape
Sometimes you read a comic and recognize that it pushes the boundaries and defines its own definition of comics. ‘The Dancing Plague’ is one such comic, a topical mixed media story filled with dry humor.
The backdrop to the story is 16th-century Strasbourg, exploring real-life events that unfolded as the city was ravaged by a strange dancing plague. Hundreds of villagers danced hysterically for days, some of them nearly died. However, the protagonist of the story is a woman named Mary, a devout mother married to a violent drunkard. We see through flashbacks that she has a history of bizarre visions that have led to her being ostracized from her family and community. Meanwhile, nowadays, her story weaves with that of the dancing fever, as she is the only one who can see the demonic creatures that terrorize her neighbors.
While the story itself is an interesting tale of life and disease in medieval France, what stands out from this book is its wonderfully eclectic art. Brooks used a few mixed methods, with some panels being simply textured and hand drawn, while others included hand embroidery. There will be several pages of hand drawn signs, and then you turn a page and the sky blue or red threads he uses for religious and demonic imagery practically skips off the page. The effect it produces truly complements the epoch of history, like a 21st century Bayeux tapestry.
‘Primordial’ n ° 1
Jeff Lemire story
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Krystal Moore live review
The great Escape
The dream team of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino met again. Their book “Gideon Falls” was exceptional, so to see that they are working on a new collaboration is pretty exciting. So far, they don’t disappoint. “Primordial” begins in 1959 when the US space program sent two monkeys, Able and Baker, into orbit to see if humans could withstand a flight of this nature. It seemed they couldn’t, since the monkeys died. Or did they do it?
Fast forward to 1961 and Dr. Donald Pembrook, a young black man with a doctorate in electrical engineering, was summoned to Cape Canaveral. He hopes he has been called in to restart the space program. Unfortunately, he was simply sent to sort out what is junk and what can be salvaged for use in the military. His disgust soon turns to wonder when he discovers readings on the monkeys which show that rumors of their deaths have been greatly exaggerated. What does all this mean? It’s a super interesting start to a story that will open up a lot of questions about the first space race between Russia and the United States.
Jeff Lemire is a great storyteller and Andrea Sorrentino is the perfect artist to translate Lemire’s thoughts into images we can all relate to.
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