I first saw Miriam at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco where she was on a panel discussion for artists. Gives a great talk; if you get the chance to see her you really should make the effort to go.
This is not one of those polished Sandman graphic novels, but a pencil sketch/drawing along the lines of Crumb. And by mentioning Crumb, I mean that her characters are thick-bodied individuals like the way he draws them. (In fact, Crumb gives his endorsement on the back of the book complimenting and making light of this fact.) It's the drawings that really pulled me in. There is something eerie about the way Miriam captures the facial expressions of herself in the book. The flippant looks, the sideways glances, the cowering, the anger, all so well done.
The story will throw some people at first, for it feels a bit choppy. But for those that have served, that is how the time feels: chopped up into segments that don't seem to make sense.
Some of the pages are heavily sketched with the Chiaroscuro shading where faces are deep and detailed, while others are made up of about 5 or 6 lines and rough. While this may sound chaotic, it really depended of what the story was talking about. Some of the more mournful and sobering parts got detailed while some of the mundane day-to-day soldier life was given less gravity. But in no way less enthusiasm, just different.
I highly recommend this book for educators teaching courses on women's studies, women in the military, Jewish literature. Of course, I also recommend as a fantastic read that you will not be able to put down.
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About the reviewer
Tristan Denyer (btdenyer)
I am a graphic designer, front-end Web designer and digital artist.I have been doing graphic design work since 1990—beginning with X-Acto knives, tape, and harsh chemicals; then PageMaker on a … more
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"In this unusual but important autobiographical graphic novel, ... [t]he artist gives all the characters the startled sense of weight she gives her own character as if adult bodies were some vast surprise.... [P]art of the deadly innocence of youth is how the young can get inured to awful things, and the story shows this excellently well." --Publishers Weekly
"Libicki simultaneously charts her journey as raw recruit in the Israeli Defense Force and young girl painfully searching for intimacy. Love and peace, war and youth, the mixture is irresistible." --Stephen Notley, creator ofBob the Angry Flower
"The so-called comics experts tell us the Golden Age of comics is long past. I contend this isn t so. In fact, I suspect we re in comics golden age right now. In even the recent past, the amazing diversity of comics we enjoy today simply wasn t available or even possible. The idea of an autobiographical exploration of one young woman s years in the Israeli Defense Force, during the height of the secondintifada, being published as a comic series, much less finding a readership, was an idiot s dream. Now it s not only possible, the book exists. Miriam Libicki s Jobnik! is proof that we re in the golden age of comics today." --Bill Willingham, author ofFables