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Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, the third issue of Batman Inc. would be a must for me this week [after Chris turned in his picks, DC announced that the issue will be delayed until next month], especially since it features the return of Matches Malone, a character I wasn’t even aware I missed until now. I might also spring for the first issue of Axe Cop: President of the World, a new limited series featuring the hatchet-swinging lawman.
I read very little manga by Moyoco Anno, but what I have read has impressed me and what I’ve read about her has made me want to seek more of her work out. So with $30, I’d almost certainly nab Sakuran, Vol. 1, about a high-priced courtesan/geisha looking to escape her gilded cage.
If I really, really wanted to splurge, I’d plunk $125 down for the second printing of the Wally Wood EC Stories Artist Edition from IDW, of which I’ve only heard wonderful things. If my splurging had to be a little budget-friendly, and I was in a more academic mood, I’d at least flip through Cerebus: The Barbarian Messiah, a collection of critical essays on Dave Sim’s controversial opus.
Resistance, Volume 2: Defiance
Written by Carla Jablonski; Illustrated by Leland Purvis
First Second; $16.99
I have fond memories of reading the first volume of Resistance. I was on a road trip with my family last year and took it with me to read in the car along with First Second’s other kids-vs-nazis book, City of Spies. I couldn’t help but be struck by the different approaches each creative team took to their similar subject matter. City of Spies is a romping adventure book while Resistance looks seriously at the reality of what opposing the Germans must have been like for children. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition and I loved both approaches so much that in comparing the two I missed some other themes, at least in Resistance. I may have missed some in City of Spies too, but reading the second volume of Resistance all by itself has allowed me to see aspects of it that go deeper than just “boy, it must have been scary for kids in those days.”
There were several themes that I expected to find in Defiance: freedom, loyalty, courage; stuff like that. What I was surprised by was a strong message that hit closer to home than those lofty ideals: relationships – especially family ones – and how incredibly hard they are. It’s difficult to live with other people – even ones that you love – and balance the variety of needs and priorities that come with several people sharing their lives. Traditional family roles can help with that (for good or ill), but what happens when your country is occupied by invading forces and everything you know and are familiar with has been turned upside down if not completely destroyed? As a mother whose husband has been taken by the Germans to work in their labor camps, how do you balance the needs of your children with the demands of putting food on the table, especially when those very Germans are extorting your livelihood for their needs?
There’s so much going on in the life of poor Mme. Tessier that it’s tempting to focus on her, but this isn’t her story. Mostly it’s Paul’s, her only son, but also it’s Paul’s sisters, teenaged Sylvie and young Marie. Though not quite a teenager himself, Paul struggles with what it means to be the man of the family; balancing that responsibility with his passion for undermining the Germans’ control on his town any way that he can. He’s not doing a very good job of it though. It’s too much to ask of a young boy and helping the Resistance is getting in the way of supporting his mom, especially when he learns that the militant Maquis are camped in the woods nearby. Joining them would mean making a real difference; much more dramatic than drawing propaganda posters and distributing flyers.