An African-American woman wearing a white, short-sleeved dress, winking at the reader and toting a handgun, is quite the opening for Peter Bagge’s newest offering. And the title practically screams off the page— Fire!!
The book documents the life of writer and trailblazer, Zora Neale Hurston, who lived in the first half of the 20th century. Bagge details the challenges Hurston faced as an iconoclast black woman in the early 20th century, and lets loose her larger than life personality.
Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story presents Hurston’s world with a classic comic feel. Elastic, noodle arms and soft edges adorn each frame, and bold colours match Hurston’s vibrant personality. For those accustomed to more modern art, it can feel a bit dated, and reminiscent of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons from the mid 1900s. However, here it adds personality and humour resulting in a more approachable book.
It’s a quick-paced, insightful biography. For Hurston fans, Bagge made an effort to include some of her best lines, such as, “I’ll shoot you nicely and you’ll die politely.”
The result is a sharp, rich and quick comic, that combines the fun of a visual medium with rousing story of a complex and controversial woman.
Available in March
By Peter Bagge
Drawn and Quarterly
104 pp, $23.95
Original appeared in the Graphic Novel issue of VUE Weekly, issue 1113. The comic was provided by Drawn and Quarterly for review purposes.