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Slow Storm

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  352 Ratings  ·  79 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 goin ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by First Second
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(showing 1-30)
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Seth T.
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
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
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
This one was a little confusing at parts. I'm not sure how I feel about it. The story is about a firewoman and a Mexican man she helps out. Ursa gets no respect from her coworkers for being a woman. Even her brother who works at the same station tries to show her up by taking jobs from her that he's not qualified for. You see some sexual harassment going on and that kind of disappointed me to see. Sometimes I feel like I must live in a bubble because I get easily shocked that stuff like this goe ...more
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
David Schaafsma
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: gn-ya, gn-women
Beautiful watercolors, and loose ink artwork, which is a strategy that works better for setting and mood than character and plot. The story, one of an encounter, in Crestwood, Kentucky, between local Ursa and an immigrant from Chiapas, has its moments, including the title tornado, but the story is sometimes confusing to me. Neither main character has anything good going on in their lives, and the storm is a kind of metaphor for that and a catalyst for needed change. The effect of swirling moveme ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
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
Sep 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comix, feminist, race
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
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.
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.
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Beautiful watercolors, a really talented artist. Lovely palatte. A really simple story with spare dialogue that says a lot.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are two primary characters in this graphic novel, the first is a female firefighter/first responder (Ursa Crain) and the second is an undocumented young man (Rafi) from Mexico. The setting is Oldham County, Kentucky and during a very violent storm a flash of lightning strikes a barn containing horses and sets it on fire.
Rafi lives in the barn and cares for the horses, so he runs in and releases them from their stalls. During this act of heroism Rafi hits his head and knocked unconscious
Beth Bissmeyer
May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Was excited to find this book set in Kentucky and written by a Louisville native, but it was disappointing. The artwork is great, but the story, the characters especially, lacked development in such a way where, as a whole, it didn't feel genuine. Would be curious to see what else this author has done though.
Sarah Morgan
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Worthy read on a snowy afternoon while the kids play Monopoly. Thoughtful & soulful. It would be 5 stars if there weren't so many parts that were just confusing & lots of loose threads at the end.
Oct 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
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
Renee Alberts
Apr 20, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
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
May 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oleg Kagan
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: small-town
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
Danny Young
Dec 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
May 24, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Emilia P
Jul 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
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
There is literally almost nothing to say about this book. It's a void. It's an absence of event, character or plot. The best way I could describe it would be to say it is the opposite of the word "imbued". It has nothing to say and says nothing. The title Slow Storm suggests that what the author was reaching for was an atmospheric tension that builds up to a crescendo. Which would be cool if anything happens. If you were introduced to characters. To call this two-dimensional would be to give it ...more
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Each page is a stunning work of art! It's obvious that a lot of work was put into making each and every frame of the story because everything was just breath-taking. This is the first time that I've read a comic book painted in watercolor and I must say, I'm very much impressed with the artwork!

Unfortunately, the story within the artwork was not to my liking. I found it hard to relate to and just something I was not really interested in.

If I was just going to rate this book based on the artwor
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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.
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