February 8, 2016

The Artist in the Biography: Examining Elijah Brubaker’s REICH

Over on Comics Bulletin, Jason Sacks and I discuss what we loved about Elijah Brubaker's 12 part series REICH from Sparkplug Books.

"Biography is tricky business, and graphic biography, I would imagine, even more so. Presenting a person’s life in this sort of format requires not just extensive research, but large choices — what to put in and what to leave out, not to mention pacing, layout, and design. Expand that over 12 issues and then stretch that over (in the case of the Sparkplug books) seven years and choices of consistency and intent have to also be factored into the equation. Just as Reich seemingly transforms, so too does Reich. In the course of creating this series, Brubaker is developing his prowess as an artist. The Elijah Brubaker of 2007 is not the same cartoonist as the Elijah Brubaker of 2014. By reading this art, we also are reading the artist.  Which now, I guess, brings us back to your earlier questions of “artistic ambition, of youthful enthusiasm colliding with mature approaches, and of the commitment that an artist owns for completing his work.”"

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