Psychophant's Reviews > Nelson

Nelson by Rob Davis
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's review
Jan 12, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: comic-manga, reviewed
Read on January 12, 2012

I was tempted to add it to the "Art" shelf, and also to the "Historical Fiction" one. Just because it worked so well in raising up memories, bringing back the past, and it is such a gorgeous sight, in its patchwork of looks and styles.

This is a collaborative comic, encompassing the work of 54 British artists, to present a day in the life, one every year, of the heroine, Nel, in 1-5 pages. Nel was born in 1968 (43 episodes, for the mathematically challenged) and is a quite normal girl/woman, so for people in that age range it will hit specially hard, because many memories are our own, even from a different viewpoint. I found that for a non-Brit male, the similarities are startling, and the differences (The Bomb, Maggie,...) make her life both poignant and piquant.

The two coordinators have made a great job, because the story unfolds naturally, and the pieces fit beautifully, so she comes across as a real person, and a likeable one, with her failings and virtues. Someone we would enjoy meeting. And yet, I am sure there are parts of the artists themselves in the tale, so it is also a highly personal composite. The other characters are much more than support, weaving the tale of the last forty years.

Even if our experience was different, this book will make you remember when you first tried cigarettes, when you met someone special in school, your first live band, your first heartbreak, the death of that well loved relative, your depression/someone's you love, the job you love and the job you hate, and so many memories that make you, yourself.

Not all of the short sketches mesh well, and there are some inconsistencies in the support characters, but it says a lot of how good the characterization is that you notice when someone "feels" different. Also, with such a variety of visual styles, not all of them are bound to be ones I like. Those two details would keep me from giving it 5 stars but the Charity link and the physical beauty of the book push it back into the top.

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