Refugees, Election Nights and Dystopia: Three Comic Books to Read This Month

Once a month, Economic alternatives offers a selection of comics dedicated to economic and social news

1/ Life to be restored

The Aldabaan family lived in Syria, in Homs, when the war broke out in 2011. They first took refuge in Jordan. It is difficult, therefore, to decide to cross the Atlantic, because all family members (uncles, aunts, grandmothers) are not so advanced in their visa applications to the United States.

In November 2016, the possibility of Donald Trump winning convinces the family to take a plane before it’s too late. ” If Trump wins, they will slam the door in our faces. afraid of Ibrahim, father.

Arriving in Connecticut, the family is no longer afraid of torture and bombing, but their daily life is not easy. ” We will do our best to help you, but Iris [l’association d’aide aux réfugiés qui s’occupe des Aldabaan, NDLR] wants you to become independent and therefore fully autonomous within three to four months “explains volunteer Lara, who herself finds it hard to believe.

An excerpt from Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan’s Welcome to the New Life.

Between doctor visits, learning a new language, writing resumes, job search courses that often fall short of their ambitions (Ibrahim, an entrepreneur in Syria, is offered to clean toilets), opening a college for kids. , the everyday life of the Aldabaans is nothing like what they dreamed of. On the day when Ibrahim receives a racist message on his phone, accompanied by death threats, the family is forced to flee again and finds a small hotel that they find it difficult to pay for.

Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan, respectively, journalist and illustrator at the New York Times, tell us about this torment, which, unfortunately, is the lot of many refugees. They followed the family as soon as they got off the plane. From their monthly meetings, a cartoon report was born, published in episodes of the New York Times and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Press Cartoons in 2018. The importance of solidarity.

Welcome to a new life Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan, Buchet Chastel, 2022, 192 pp, €23.90.

2/ Evenings like no other

Perhaps you were with friends, quietly at home watching TV, or on a weekend in the countryside. Maybe you just don’t remember. And on the evening of April 10 and 24, where will you be?

representatives, the first comic in Payot & Rivages’ “Rivages Graphiques” collection, is a series of sketches centered around the events that take place on the evening of presidential election day, between 1995 and 2017. Politics interferes with everyday life. scenes. Like this couple who adopt parents from their son’s classmate and who end up toasting with them before the election of Jacques Chirac while their political views are at odds.

Or like in this hospital, which in 2007 is about to be filled with demonstrators injured to protest the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, while siblings mourn the death of their father, already arguing about the future legacy.

Among all the characters encountered throughout the chapters, some are indifferent to the announcement of the results, others experience joy, sometimes misunderstanding (“ 17%, you know? But who are these people who voted for him? Max exclaims when he learns that Jean-Marie Le Pen is in the second round, in 2002). These campaign nights also prompt some reflections on abstention or voting attitudes: ” once every seven years, we delegate all our powers to a person who will not report to us for seven years … Basically, this is a monarchy, only we re-elect the monarch Martha says in 1995.

Five chapters are distinguished by a graphic touch: each of the four authors of this collective work drew one, and the fifth is the fruit of their joint work in eight hands. Next ? It’s up to you to write it. What will be your story in 2022?

representatives, Vincent Faras, David Prudhomme, Alfred, Anne Simon and Sebastien Vassant, Graphic Twists, 2022, 162 pp., 20 euros.

3/ In Angouleme, the price of audacity for dystopia

Angouleme Festival, an event not to be missed for all 9 fansth art, ending March 20. The Best Album Award went to Marcello Quintanilla for Listen Pretty Marcia, in which the Brazilian author talks about the daily life of a family in the favelas of Rio and the influence of the gangs that Marcia’s daughter falls under. The Courage Prize was awarded to Michael Deforge for Familiar facewhich we reviewed a few months ago when it was published.

Seeking to follow in the footsteps of George Orwell, Michael DeForge paints a portrait of a dystopian society, aided by his highly abstract drawing. “My position was not threatened, but the system liked that the queues of replacements were visible to motivate the staff”says the narrator, who works for the government.

Welcome to a futuristic world where the dictatorship of technology reigns, where the search for efficiency is brought to its apogee, where cities, roads, buildings and even people are “updated” (modified, improved) depending on the humor of the system.

An excerpt from A Familiar Face by Michael DeForges

With these changes, one day the narrator’s companion disappears. Going in search of him, we soon discover another universe. From ” radical cartographers took over the state system and launched wild updates: “The house of the vice-mayor was moved to the bottom of the lake, the parks were expanded and the roads collapsed. » The demonstration is organized, the demands are multiplying. Is there still hope for rebellion in this disinfected world? “where the slightest gesture, shrug, sigh or whisper seems to be part of a subversive secret code” ?

Familiar face, Michael DeForge, Atrabile, 2021, 176 pp., 17 euros.

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