Oy, so I didn’t make it a Sunday update this week but all in good time. Because essentially, the biggest news to hit the art-and-design-o-sphere comes this week from Comic Con: Israeli comic book artist and illustrator Rutu Modan was just awarded an Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Novel in 2008 for her work, Exit Wounds.
Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, A young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues. His death would certainly explain his empty apartment and disconnected phone line. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his father’s death, he finds himself not only piecing together the last few months of his father’s life, but his entire identity. With thin, precise lines and luscious watercolors, Modan creates a portrait of modern Israel, a place where sudden death mingles with the slow dissolution of family ties.
I’m not so sure that today’s Israel can be so easily categorized as a place where family ties are not strong. In fact, I believe quite the opposite is true. And you’ll find Israel’s biggest ‘celebrities’ eating Friday night dinner with their families before going out to the ‘hottest’ clubs. (I put that all in quotes because it’s all so (ir)relevant, celebrity, fame, stardom, etc…) But don’t let that detract from interest in or attention for the work. For sure, it’s a prestigious award that was bestowed on one of Israel’s decorated and renowned illustrators. So if anyone gets their hands on a copy and has a chance to read it, let us know what you think of the theme.
And in the meantime, we can all agree that the images, as they relate to the topics of terror and death, are indeed breathtaking. There’s something of an older aesthetic or vintage look in the work, as if it draws upon the historical element of Tel Aviv despite its newness of subject and view. Whether it’s by the coloring of the page, the people captured in the street scenes, or the simplicity of the fonts used as conversations. Check out a 5 page excerpt from the novel here.