Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trade Central Station: Moving Pictures

I'm a very picky person when it comes to my comics. I'm a picky person in general. What attracted me to picking up "Moving Pictures" by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen was the artwork. It is bold, with it's use of heavy inks. It is detailed but never overly complicated. The storytelling never feels lost. You always know where you are, even when a character is standing against a completely black backdrop. I think it is a phenomenal piece of work. 

The story takes place during the Second World War. The main character is a woman named Ila Gardner, a curator, withdrawn from most of society as she spends her days among paintings. She's trying to protect and inventory these paintings and finds herself in a tough situation when she meets officer Rolf Hauptmann of the Military Art Commission, whose job is also to inventory and move the paintings. As they disagree with the proper way to do their jobs, they develop an intimate relationship. Ila must figure out her role in relation to the war and try not to lose herself within all the mind games and power struggles. 

There's a beautiful motif that repeats throughout the book of falling papers. Papers are important because they help identify and categorize everything from paintings to people. They are letters to friends, newspapers, photographs, sketches. That they are depicted blank and never static for too long creates a sadness regarding the ease there is to become displaced. I, also, love the use of the all black panel in the book. They break up the scenes, but also add a sense of oppression. Black is dark and all-consuming, like a heavy weight pressed upon the characters' shoulders. 

"Moving Pictures" by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen is a wonderful read that I highly recommend to all.


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