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Market Day

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,038 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews

Mendleman’s life goes through an upheaval when he discovers that he can no longer earn a living for his growing family doing the work that defines him—making well-crafted rugs by hand. A proud artisan, he takes his donkey-drawn cart to the market only to be turned
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Seth T.
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
That James Sturm's Market Day would be a gloomy affair is evident from the start. The colours are murky and drab. The shadows loom large and dominate the frame. The dialogue is sparse. And the book is about an artiste. Which almost guarantees angst, self-doubt, and a large cereal bowl-full of mopiness.

Tch, artists.

The thing is: Sturm uses his protagonist's preoccupation with both artistic excellence and the recognition of those with taste to tell a quietly powerful tale of brute pragmatism versu
Kevin Fanning
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
Gorgeous, if maybe not to my taste. So much of the work by modern male graphic novelists is so unrelentingly dour. What is it that readers enjoy about this? I'm genuinely curious, because I feel like I'm missing out on a lot. Whether it's James Sturn or Chris Ware or Daniel Clowes or Charles Burns--artists who are celebrated for a very bleak & pessimistic view of humanity--who use their talents to show how how depressing and pointless life is. I know that! I have a window and internet access ...more
David Schaafsma
Really beautifully, lovingly done story based on historical materials. Wrenchingly harsh, but hopeful in that the rug weaver's anguish and his love for his family and his artistic vision and commitment come through... Not a sentimental, sappy, happy ending, a good and clear picture of a simple man suffering to make a living in harsh times. Gorgeously done, with muted tans and browns and greys, all in honor of the weaver's own artistic vision...
Stephanie (aka WW)
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully drawn, atmospheric graphic novel. That it is not going to turn out well for Mendleman, the rug maker, is obvious from the start. No, the area’s version of Walmart has moved in and artiste’s products are no longer valued. What to do when this is your livelihood and you have a wife and baby on the way?
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Sturm's most understated and best book yet, beautiful and thoughtful, with a sense of timelessness and universality pervading.
Sam Quixote
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
A rug maker in early 20th century Eastern Europe prepares to go to market to sell his rugs. He sits up at night worrying about money. He is soon to be a father and he needs to sell his rugs. When he goes to the market he finds his usual buyer has retired and sold his business to a young man who doesn't care for craftsmanship and wants to pay as little as possible. As he wanders the towns looking for a place to make some money, he thinks about his old buyer, the man who encouraged him in his rug ...more
Oct 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tenderly rendered, this graphic novel delicately nurses the open wounds of what it is to be human. Our vulnerabilities, our hopes and fantasies, the constant whirr of thought in our head, and the ache to create and be inspired by all we live among.

This is one day and night in the life of a Jewish rug weaver and his impending fears coming to life; his sense of dismay and dejection when he finds he will soon have no work. The utter hopelessness of his situation coupled with the new chapter of his
Vivek Tejuja
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So this graphic novel came heavily recommended to me by @mentalexotica and I absolutely and most certainly take her recommendations very seriously – more so when it comes to graphic novels. She doesn’t miss them and is bang on with what she likes or loves most of the time. I read the book in half an hour (it was her copy), but the memory of it will stay and linger for longer than that.

“Market Day” as the title suggests is about a day in the market. It is about art and commerce as seen in the ma
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels

As I was reading this, I was expecting to give a GLOWING review with my strong stamp of approval... but this book has ONE flaw. One BIG flaw:

It doesn't really have an /ending/.

I hate that. Oh I hate that so MUCH...

It doesn't /need/ one... but I like my stories to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We have to guess at the end in this one...

Even so, This is a definate four stars out of five, because with VERY few words and a lot of very simple drawings, James Sturm has managed to tell us an a
Emilia P
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
James Sturm, you are really a treasure.
Your work is such a work of art, carefully not drawing attention to the artist himself, celebrating the fact that you're making a graphic novel, and not just writing a story and not just bombarding us with new and interesting art.

And the story, too, of the way the world changes, painfully, imperceptibly but somehow also all at once, in a Jewish Eastern European context here, but very easily universalized... it was a great one for the medium of light and sh
Gregory Han
Apr 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Artistically, James Strum's latest is hauntingly beautiful, capturing the day in a life of a rug artisan...from his nervous few steps out in the morning light journeying to the market till the shroud of night falling around him. My favourite moments were of the hustle and bustle of an early 1900's market illuminating the personalities and energy of artisans and market shoppers, which quickly fades away into the dark realizations of an uncertain world and an even more uncertain future predicted o ...more
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Completely heartbreaking. And completely stunning.

A fine rug maker in early 1900s eastern Europe finds he can no longer get good prices for his work. As I read, I found myself thinking about how isolated this society was (he walks everywhere), thinking about management theory, thinking about the loss of quality, and my knowledge of the horrors of WWII just loomed in the background.

Really amazing illustrations, with nice use of full-spread bleeds, demonstrations of this artistic mind to create ru
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Market Day is a very moving, sad, and subtle graphic novel for older readers. Set in a European Jewish community of the last century, Market Day shares one day in Mendelman's unraveling life. A rug maker of distinction and a father-in-waiting, Mendleman goes to the Market town to sell his rugs, only to find his supply chain is upended and nothing is as it was. This book makes me wish I had an "Economics" tag. . . it's contemplative and sad.
Matt Graupman
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm currently working my way through a gigantic book celebrating Drawn + Quarterly's 25th anniversary (which is excellent so far, by the way) and it references James Sturm's "Market Day" as one of their early successes in bringing unique graphic novels to the public. Having never read the book before, but intrigued by the description in the D+Q retrospective, I snatched it off the library shelf the other day. I can see now why it blew away the prosaic idea of what kind of comics an indie publish ...more
Vittorio Rainone
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
La gestione dei tempi narrativi è ottima. Il comparto grafico “a la Seth” vede le tavole disporsi secondo una griglia ordinatissima, che vede poche vignette per pagina, a eccezione delle pagine finali. C’è una predominanza opprimente di tinte marroni tendenti allo scuro, di ombre che descrivono le figure. Fisionomie ed edifici sono resi con grande efficacia e con altrettanto grande economia di dettagli, trasformando ogni soggetto nella sua controparte simbolica e archetipica.

Se quanto appena det
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loeg-archives
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Sturm's new book is about a rug weaver at a European market around the turn of the century. He's about to become a father for the first time, and the chief buyer of his exquisite and slowly created rugs has suddenly retired, drying up the market for his work. The entire book is basically a meditation of art versus commerce, the creative impulse butting heads against the need to make a living. It's a heartbreaking book, but beautifully paced, smartly written, and supe ...more
Andres Eguiguren
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story is simple, but this is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel with subject matter and location (a small village somewhere in Eastern Europe in pre-World War II 20th Century) that would not be out of place in an Isaac Bashevis Singer short story. The hardcover edition has unnumbered pages and is gorgeously bound. I don't read many graphic novels, but Drawn & Quarterly is a first-rate publisher of the genre as far as I am concerned.
Vinayak Hegde
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Dark, melancholic and gloomy and the color palette of the graphic novel refelects that. James Surm covers the story of a rug merchant as he struggles with a lack of demand for his fine artisanship in the market and new life changes.

The artwork is fabulous with the darkness of the story reflected in the panels. The use of grids of panels is done effectively whether to show a rush of emotions or to dwell on the dark mood of a scene (both well drawn and narrated)
Naomi Sutherland
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The storytelling was impactful and relevant for a book set in the 1900s. I felt touched by the struggles portrayed.
Emma Clement
Jun 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics-graphic
The writing and art was well done, but I just did not like this book. It was really sad and depressing and there was no real ending!!
Matthew Metzdorf
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
the art was good
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I am at heart an absurdist, so a book where nothing happens but bad things, is OK by me. It is gorgeous.
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Après quelques années dans le domaine de l’éducation, James Sturm fait son retour éditorial avec Jour de marché. Une fois de plus, il pose un regard croisé sur le passé et cherche à découvrir l'origines des dérives de notre époque. Après les tensions raciales et les prémices du sport spectacle dans l’excellent Swing du Golem, les dérives de l’extrémisme religieux et la soif de l’or dans Above & Below (malheureusement pas encore traduit), il se penche vers un des piliers de la vie moderne, c' ...more
Mendelmann ist ein jüdischer Teppichknüpfer im frühen 20. Jahrhundert. James Sturm schildert einen schicksalshaften Markttag, an dem Mendelmann seine Teppiche zum Händler bringen will und feststellen muss, dass der Inhaber gewechselt hat und dieser nun seine hochwertigen Teppiche nicht abnehmen will. Seine Versuche, die Teppiche auf dem markt anderweitig zu verkaufen, scheitern, er wird sie erst in einer Art Kaufhaus für wenig Geld los und stürzt in tiefe Verzweiflung. Seine Existenz steht schla ...more
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Capitalism sucks and then you get drunk.

Well, sort of. It's the late 19th century, and Mendlebaum the rug-maker is up before dawn to take his gorgeous creations to the market. His wife is almost ready to give birth to their first child, so he's nervous to leave her, but at the same time, when you've got a family, you've got to earn some coin. The world is changing, though, and beautiful, well-made things aren't valued as much as they used to be. What's an artist to do?

The theme here is "art vers
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mendleman, the weaver awakes early on market day and heads to town with his rugs in a mule drawn cart. His wife is pregnant with their first child, and as he trudges along in the pre-dawn he worries about all the things that could possibly go wrong, and what the terrible consequences might be. As dawn breaks and he approaches the marketplace his mood improves, he’s inspired with new rug designs and contemplates the pleasant bustle of humanity as the other vendors set up their wares. He meets a r ...more
Market Day, one of my favourite comics!

This is such a beautiful book. It's a very relaxing read. Sturm creates the universe of Market Day so perfectly and realistically. I really feel for the rug weaver that has troubles selling his wares now that his favorite shop keeper has retired. He has marital stresses and now his art is less marketable and he's going to have trouble making a living doing what he loves. It's a story that's probably familiar to most people, the day you realize you won't be
Brian Weaver
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully and simply told, this wonderfully illustrated graphic novel tells the story of Mendleman, a Jewish rug maker, who goes into town on "market day" in an attempt to sell his rugs. But when he finds out that the owner of the store where he usually sells his rugs is no longer there, and that the new owner doesn't care to buy his rugs, Mendleman's world is thrown into chaos as he begins to question his profession, his life, and all of existence. James Sturm, author of another great graphic ...more
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James Sturm is the author of several award-winning graphic novels for children and adults, including James Sturm’s America, Market Day, The Golem’s Mighty Swing and Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow. He is also the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies and the National Association for Comics Art Educators. He created Adventures in Cartooning with collaborators Alexis Frederic-Frost and Andr ...more
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“His absence has only made him more present.” 1 likes
“A few years ago we discussed when Sabbath truly begins. When is the precise moment of the setting sun? So I made a rug weaving together black and deep purple. When the light faded enough, and one could no longer tell the difference between the two colors, then Sabbath had begun and prayers could be made.” 0 likes
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