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Slow Storm

3.09 of 5 stars 3.09  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  65 reviews
A firefighter in rural Kentucky, Ursa searches for her place in life, struggling to meet her own expectations. When a tornado hits her town, the ensuing chaos brings her world into sharp focus, somehow making everything clearer, and Ursa finds that she just can’t stomach the way her life is going. It is then that she meets Rafi, an illegal immigrant whose life isn’t going ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by First Second
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Seth Hahne
Danica Novgorodoff has created something that was worth picking up but maybe not worth picking up instead of something else. Slow Storm is a pretty even blend of good and bad elements—and this elemental counterpoint so strongly governs the book that it may not be worth speaking about the short work in any other terms.

The art Novgorodoff employs is a strange sort of bugbear in that it represents both the best and the worst the book has to offer. To Slow Storm's benefit, the painted colours set bo
Full disclosure: a lot of what I liked about this book is its setting. It's set in the Louisville, Kentucky area, my hometown. The main part of the story takes place the day after the Kentucky Derby. There are tornadoes, something I closely associate with this area. I enjoyed seeing references to I-71 and the Ohio valley landscape with car and train bridges that I could see in ten minutes if I left work right now to go to the waterfront. All that makes this book nostalgic to me, and I presume co ...more
Review from Badelynge
Although Danica Novgorodoff's Slow Storm is a good 170+ pages in length the sparsity of the written narrative makes this book a short one sitting read. It's sort of a character piece about a Mexican illegal immigrant, Rafi, and Ursa, a somewhat unloved female firefighter who spends most of her working hours fighting a sometimes vindictive sibling rivalry with her brother and fending off the unwanted advances of another of her workmates. Their brief connection occurs at a ti
The Basics

Ursa is a female firefighter who doesn’t have the respect of her fellow firefighters, including her brother. Rafi is an illegal immigrant who gets blamed for a crime Ursa committed in a fit of rage. With their paths crossing, their lives will be forever changed.

My Thoughts

Even my summary up there sounded gooey and pretentious, which just couldn’t be helped, because this book bleeds pretension. It wants to say something important. It wants to resonate so badly. A book should never feel
Sarah Beaudoin
This is a beautiful book. I received a free copy of this at the MSU Comics Forum and was instantly impressed with the artwork. The plot features both a tornado and fire and Novgorodoff captures the rawness of both within each panel. I wish the narrative could match the art - I really wanted more depth to the verbal story and felt the verbal did not do justice to the visual. The plot concerns an out of place firefighter and a Mexican groom who is working illegally at a Kentucky horse farm, whose ...more
Actually, this wasn't bad. It deserves more than two stars. There are moments I had to go back to and think, 'Oh man, this was beautiful symbolism'. The pacing isn't bad either. And the main character, Ursa, is relate-able.

I just really can't get behind the art. It's not my cup of tea at all, and sometimes it's bad enough (bad: I mean, in a sense that I don't enjoy the artwork at all, not that it's ugly. Like I said, it's not my cup of tea at all) makes it hard for me to focus on the story.

I'm s
Danica Novgordoff's art is really the show stopper in this graphic novel, although I liked the understated humanity she brings out in the story as well. All the coloring of the panels is done through watercolors, which brings a lot of expressiveness and emotion into the work that really suits the subject matter in addition to being very beautiful. Many of her individual panels could easily be paintings that I'd love to put on my wall. There are also a lot of poetic touches in the writing that re ...more
This graphic novel probably would have been two stars except for the fact that it takes place in Oldham County, Kentucky, my hometown. So it was nice to see the town of Crestwood and the North Oldham Fire Department featured. The plot seemed very simple and if you read the description of the book, you get the entire story. Rafi, one of the main characters, is an undocumented worker from Mexico, His journey across the border is guided by "coyotes," whom the author depicts as men with coyote heads ...more
Colleen Venable
I know I know I keep promising to stop reviewing :01 and RB books, but THIS IS AMAZING. DANICA IS AMAZING. This is her first book and holy moly! It's so stunning in story, literary layers, and art. In sales meetings they kept saying this was "the great american graphic novel" and for once I think those sales people are telling the truth! FIND IT. READ IT NOW. I promise you will thank me for it.
Oleg Kagan
Slow-burning story of an undocumented immigrant in the Kentucky, in a storm, trying to survive. I love the watercolors and the explosiveness of every interaction. But Slow Storm had the same issue as I've been running into with a lot of graphic novels: It's too short for me; just as with Sumo by Thien Pham, the art and story appeal to me, but it's over before it starts.

I suspect this may just be a reality of a genre that combines several art forms. The process of creating a graphic novel probab
Beautiful watercolors, a really talented artist. Lovely palatte. A really simple story with spare dialogue that says a lot.
Danica Novgorodoff had already established her comics pedigree before her first full-length work was published. In 2006, she won the Isotope Award for her creative efforts in mini-comics, and the following year she was nominated for an Eisner. Expectations were thus high for her debut graphic novel, Slow Storm, which was released at the beginning of September of this year.

To a small degree, Novgorodoff lived up to these expectations by delivering a book which features some very arresting imager
Robert Beveridge
Danica Novgorodoff, Slow Storm (First Second, 2008)

There's a particular kind of graphic novel popping up more and more these days that's kind of like the on-the-page version of mumblecore (or, for those of you old enough to remember it, eighties fiction). It's intensively interested in character study, much to the detriment of plot. Not much goes on, if anything at all, and the characters do the particular-setting equivalent of the wannabe-socialites sitting around a coffee table full of coke in
I haven't read a ton of graphic novels. Mainly I have read Neil Gaiman's stuff and that's about it. When I saw this on Amazon Vine it looked interesting and I decided to give it a try.

The artistic style of the graphics wasn't my favorite. It's fairly stylized and looks like it was done in watercolor. This style may appeal to a number of people but I thought it was a little too washed out looking.

The story itself involves a woman who is a firefighter and her encounters with a Mexican immigrant du
May 05, 2009 Claudia rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I really want lots of others to read this.
Recommended to Claudia by: NWP Graphic Novel Book Club
Wow -- So many mixed feelings about this book. The artwork, especially the landscapes with the tornado wall clouds, is impressive. I didn't like her portraits of the characters as much. They seemed as sketchy as their back stories. WHY do Ursa and Grim seem to hate each other? Why do they choose to work together? Why did Ursa go to college and not Grim? What's up with their mother? WHy does their boss allow the kind of sexual harrassment that Ursa suffers? Rafi's past is better spelled out for u ...more
Renee Alberts
In this graphic novel, Danica Novgorodoff crafts a darkly haunting story illustrated with lush watercolor and ink illustrations. As a tornado spirals at the edges of their Kentucky town, the lives of a troubled firefighter and an illegal Mexican immigrant intersect. Well-paced panels vary in size and oscillate from foreboding, stormy grays to flaring oranges to serene, eerie blues. While the story seems simple at first, subtle scenes, background characters and frequent silent panels develop enou ...more
The pen and watercolor illustrations of this are amazingly beautiful. The color tones and the imagery of the storms work so well to support the lyrical storyline. The tone is in part dreamy and lyrical and in part frenzied and panicked. Even in an unfamiliar frame, the human themes of kindness and growth make the story accessible and moving. The characters felt a bit slippery, but overall I am glad I discovered this author.
A sprawling southern dreamland of tornados, lightening, horses, saints, and loneliness. Gorgeous watercolour drawings perfectly illustrate the fluid images of landscape, weather, and emotions. Ursa, the protagonist, doesn't quite fit into her community even though she dresses and acts out a common life. Proportioned more like a man than a young woman, she lives her life as a bachelor: living alone, eating canned food, keeping dogs in her yard, and developing a career as a firefighter. The story ...more
This just didn't work for me. I really wanted to like it, but I couldn't connect with it. Though attractive, the art confused me as often as it communicated information to me, so I felt I was missing a lot of what I was supposed to be getting. I couldn't really tell what the characters were thinking or feeling, aside from their sparse words, and so I just didn't get much out of it.
I am so conflicted with this book. I liked it, but at the same time I didn't. I really don't think it deserves less than 3 stars but at the same time I don't know if it deserves 3 stars. The Story was choppy at times and weird. I didn't enjoy the first half all that much but the second half redeemed the book for me. One thing is for sure, the art is absolutely beautiful.
Danny Young
Novgorodoff is really on her game with this one. Slow Storm is a story about two characters (Ursa and Rafi) and a chance meeting. The plot-structure of this story is irregular, instead relating the characters, their pasts, and their beliefs in a way that suggests the importance of their meeting.

The artwork of this novel is particularly notable, and Novgorodoff's style really contributes to a growing sense of anxiety that is represented by the storm itself.

I think that this would be an importan
Danica Novgorodoff's work is a unique mix of watercolor and line drawing. The two elements don't always seem to click, but when they do, they explode off the page. Her work is pushing towards something that I have not seen before. And it makes me want to explore more of the stories and worlds that she has created.
Emilia P
The art in this was great, as the cover would suggest - a tough, burly lonely fire-fighting girl and a homesick unlucky illegal immigrant and their notions of home and disaster and comfort. Not a ton happened, not even a big tornado or anything (it's kind of what I was hoping for!) but it was good especially - "Even when in Kentucky, I miss Kentucky." and the immigrants being guided and protected by Saint Christopher! Oh he was a good-looking, hard-partying giant of a man. There was a brief, inc ...more
Not for everyone, due to a few of its political positions, but this is a powerful story about a young man from Mexico who has crossed the border illegally to seek his fortune, and has found a job he loves, but no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. When a storm starts a fire at the horse farm where he works, he finds himself on the run from the authorities and from himself, and in the hands of a local firefighter.
It bothered me a little that the border patrol guys were portrayed in an insulti
The water colors are remarkable. I'd really like to see more books colored this way. The colors shift slowly or suddenly in a way that you certainly don't see in digitally colored work. The colors also accentuate the tooth of the paper in a way I don't remember seeing in other books. The story could be told just by the tonal shifts in color.

I wish the writing behind the story and characters had the same depth and nuance as the colors. While I found myself caught up in the emotions of any one mo
sorry - did not really care for this graphic novel much. the language makes me put this at a high school only level. the story was okay, the art was sometimes confusing...
I really enjoyed this. I'm curious to know if Rafi made it or where he went to next, but it does that thing where it ends poetically and without resolution.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What I found most striking about this book was the art work. The story was fine. But the art was sensational -- beautiful watercolors created the feel of the country in both Kentucky and Mexico.

The story idea was a good one -- two strangers, each with difficulties in their lives, thrown together by circumstance. One is a young female firefighter who has some kind of unexplained issues with her brother, also a firefighter. The other is an illegal immigrant from Mexico, who loses all his belonging
Khat Fish
Beautiful images but the story itself was meh. Maybe it needs to be read slower, and each page digested well before turning.
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Danica Novgorodoff is an artist, writer, graphic novelist, graphic designer and horse wrangler from Kentucky who currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has published three graphic novels: A Late Freeze (2006), Slow Storm (2008), and Refresh, Refresh (included in Best American Comics 2011). Her fourth graphic novel, The Undertaking of Lily Chen, is forthcoming from First Second Books in 2014.
More about Danica Novgorodoff...
The Undertaking of Lily Chen Refresh, Refresh A Late Freeze Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists

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