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Oil & Water

2.7  ·  Rating details ·  111 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
When ten Oregonians travel to the Gulf Coast in August 2010 to plumb the devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon spill, they discover that “Oil and Water” is just the first of the insoluble contradictions. Between the tarred sands of Grand Isle and the fouled waters of the Louisiana bayou, they come to find out that Gulf Coast residents are economically dependent upon ...more
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published December 5th 2011 by Fantagraphics (first published October 31st 2011)
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The cover is one of the three cool parts of this book; the second is the introduction by Bill McKibben, and the third is this image, from early in the book, of the burning oil platform and the parallel plume of crude oil a mile deep:

Deep Water Horizon
We all need to contemplate deeply this image, consider what our addiction to oil means for the rest of the world, and work to change our own lives accordingly.

The rest of the book consists of a a few portraits of poor folks, black and white, from the Gulf Coast, and
Way too disjointed to be much use. I couldn't keep track of the characters or their relationships with each other, where they were or what they were doing at any given moment. I got more out of the 5 or so text-only fact pages than the rest of the book. And I couldn't get background info on my own, because all the people's names were changed and the website didn't work any more. A shame, too, because the art was appealing.
A group of people travel from the pacific northwest to the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Bought this when Wheeler was a guest at the Olympia Comics Festival. It's not as developed as, say, A.D. After the Deluge, but is fairly unique in that it's from the perspective of a relief worker/reporter group.

Read with: Rolling Blackouts
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
After hearing the creators speak at WonderCon 2011, I was excited for the release of this book but sadly, I was pretty disappointed with it. While its aim is ambitious and admirable, I felt like it only just barely skimmed the surface of the experiences of those who were most affected by the BP oil spill and emphasized the experiences of the Oregon group who traveled to New Orleans. And while it's valuable to write about the experiences of folks and their learning process, it felt a bit more lik ...more
Dec 30, 2011 added it
Shelves: nonfiction, graphic, 2011
This book is a good read, pulling you into a better understanding of the horrible Deep Water Horizon spill and its effects on the people, economy and ecology of the Gulf Coast. It's also a great example of how a graphic novel* approach can be so much more powerful that prose. It also shows how including the journalists in the narrative can be more effective than the traditional pretense of an omniscient and invisible reporter.

Wheeler's illustrations are excellent. At Steven Duin's and Shannon Wh
Largely letdown by this one. There's nothing bad per se in this book. The art is good, it's well-written and there's great potential for a compelling story. Trouble is there are too many layers to the real story here. We're seeing everything filtered through a journalist and all of that is filtered through the viewpoints of a group of activists. So we unfortunately see and hear very little about the people fully hit by the BP oil spill. There are a small handful of moments towards the end where ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
I think that maybe the writer heavily focused the plot on the group of travelling Oregonians who narrate this story as a way of saying something like: this is just one of many accounts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (at some point they mention that their purpose is "to bear witness"). But the Oregonians are not terribly interesting or effective as narrators (they are rather clueless throughout the narrative), and their moments of reflection as they witness the disaster just end up seeming a ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was really excited about this book and I wanted to love it so badly I think that the premise of this book is good: a group of people from Oregon wanted to bear witness to that catastrophe that was Deepwater Horizon. That sounds great! I want to hear all about this! However, how it was actually written focuses way too much on the Oregon people, and barely touches the surface of the Gulf and the people who love on it.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I was intrigued by the premise when I came across this book while browsing for interesting nonfiction graphic novels at my local library, but I ended up being disappointed. The book feels like it barely touches on some huge and fascinating issues, and wastes too much time detailing the interactions of the rather boring group of more or less clueless Oregonians, who are there to "bear witness". Since most in the group are not journalists, and not volunteering to help, I don't really understand wh ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is coming out in September, hence I am considering it a birthday gift to ME!

Because, you might not know this but Shannon Wheeler and I are pretty much best friends, as evidenced by this one time when I said to him, "congratulations on your nomination."* to which he replied, "thanks". And I wont even get into that crazy time we had together when I ordered something from him and then he sent it to me.

And now this book is coming out during my birthday month. I think it's pretty obvious wh
Elle Kay
Apr 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library-book
I was really disappointed in this book and feel it is a massive opportunity wasted, a chance to tell the story of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a story that deserves to be told.

What you actually get is a group of strange and annoying people from Oregon travelling to New Orleans and coastal Louisiana and we the reader are there for the ride. I don't feel the real impact of the spill was conveyed at all, the lasting effects from Katrina are covered almost as much as the sp
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
this is about the gulf oil spill created by BP (british petroleum) a couple years ago. not an earthquake, thats just my catch all disaster category.

v. strange book, the information is almost secondary, but because of that it stayed w/me.

the first chapter is at all what i expected, oil has a lot of uses and affects a lot of lives. there is a several page poop joke i didn't read. there are teenagers making out, an italian being cynical, a woman gets lost on the way to the bp spill and learns about
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Well, I was very disappointed with this graphic novel, which is about the BP oil 'spill' in the gulf in 2010. It attempts to tell the stories of the people and wildlife/ecological areas affected in the region, but really, it didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know, and the reason I chose this book (from the library - yay!) in the first place was because I feel like I don't know much at all. This is perhaps an instance where the graphic novel format does not succeed, or maybe it was ju ...more
Artur Coelho
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Um grupo de eco-turistas visita o golfo do méxico para conhecer as sequelas a médio prazo da catástrofe na plataforma Deepwater Horizon. Segue-se uma litania de comunidades piscatórias com fortíssimas diminuições dos stocks de pescas, praias contaminadas, aves a ser salvas do petróleo entranhado nas penas e uma leve reflexão sobre o entrosamento entre o petróleo e a economia da zona. Leveza é a palavra chave deste livro, que olha para um assunto complexo e polémico de forma tão discreta que mal ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
This book disappointed me. I was intrigued by the idea of a graphic non-fiction work exploring the aftermath of the BP oil spill. However, the framing device annoyed me. The book follows a group of Oregonians who go to Louisiana in order to understand and tell the story of the Gulf coast communities affected by the spill. Which begs the question, why do I care about these Oregonians and why are they on this trip? The book attempts to address that question but is completely unsuccessful. The litt ...more
David Schaafsma
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Important environmental story being told here about Oregonians from KEEN who traveled to help and give advice to folks in the Gulf after BP created the oil tragedy. Told in pieces, episodically, which feels interesting in theory, as it is a story of many people, fragmented in many ways... but it doesn't connect emotionally for me as I wish it would... given the importance of the topic...Beautifully done, and the anecdotes feel real and not sentimentalized, surprising in places such as delving in ...more
I wanted to like this more than I did. It's an important topic, and I'm thrilled with the forays that are being made in the comic and graphic novel medium to portray social and environmental issues.

Sadly, it didn't work so well here. I had a hard time keeping the characters straight, and the writers seemed to want to leave so much to subtext that sometimes I was confused about what was actually going on.

I will say that it ended absolutely beautifully, and the last panel is sort of genius. If o
Sep 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting, but could take or leave. Didn't really delve very deep.
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Its cast of characters and narrative doesn't really take you anywhere, but it does drive home the ramifications of the oil spill. It makes you discouraged. All that greed, all that indifference. Sometimes, no matter how much is being done, it's a fool's errand. But... it's the human spirit that demands some kind of remonstrative action be made, even if it is not being done by the people responsible for it.

It's like oil and water...
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
Finally sat down tonight and read this graphic novel about the 2010 BP oil spill. Steve Duin is a local columnist here in Oregon and I enjoy his column. I missed him at Powell's when he promoted this book and I am bummed because I get the sense that there is much more to this story. Much of it is lost in this form though and the best parts of the book are the pages that list/summarize facts about the area since the oil spill.
Ryan Mishap
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Don't know how I missed this little gem five years ago, but glad I peruse the shelves at the library now and again.

With a journalist's ability to gather and present facts and explanations, Duin also has the novelist's flair for people, their stories, and narrative presentation. Add Wheeler's simple, black, white, and gray drawings and you get a complicated, touching, empathy-inducing tale. Recommended.
Clint Patterson
Jan 19, 2014 rated it liked it
I loved the sobering journalistic interludes and the handful of wordless full page images, but the majority of the book is like a bad episode of This American Life, giving each of the too many vignettes only enough space to evoke bad caricature. I'm glad this book exists but found it ultimately underwhelming.
Bits and pieces of the BP oil spill's aftermath are captured in this graphic novel. The most powerful pages are not the illustrated ones, however, but the intermittent pages of text which cover facts about the spill, oil and the environment in more detail. A quick read, but as stirring as I'd anticipated.
Tate Ryan
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I found this a brief enjoyable read with decent art and some good educational facts regarding the BP Horizon Oil disaster. It has a beautiful cover and would look good on a bookshelf but I would not recommend paying full price for this as it is a quick read.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
the artwork throws me off. the stories, almost meaty enough. almost.
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Beautiful cover, intro by McKibben and then rather flat after that.
Lara Thompson
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
A tad superficial but covering a hard topic. Heavy handed on the anti-oil (not that I disagree but the preachiness is still not appreciated).
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Starts off strong, but then gets slightly cliche and peters out.
Craig Seasholes
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
A great non-fiction graphic novel that helps respond to, if not clean up the immediate aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the Louisiana Gulf Coast.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting outside story of Louisiana after BP.
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