June 17, 2014

Greg Burgas reviews Cape Horn

This may be the best comic book on Tierra del Fuego ever:

Review time! with Cape Horn

By Greg BurgasCape Horn is a rousing old-school adventure story, with bold men (and one bold woman) making bold choices in a larger-than-life environment, but because Perrissin and Riboldi are able to make it more than that, it resonates a bit more. The themes of the book aren’t new, obviously, but because Perrissin gives us so many characters and gives them well-developed personalities, it feels like the choices they make–even if they lead to tragedy–are logical ones. The setting does help, of course, as it feels fresh to read about a place that’s so unfamiliar, but Perrissin uses the time and place very well, which makes the book more subtle and fascinating. The process of colonization was never pretty and never straight-forward, and the creators bring that to vivid life. Cape Horn is a marvelous comic, and it would make a fine addition to your library.

The Native aspectsCape Horn, like so much of fiction, is about power. When you introduce a colonial element to it, it becomes more about cultural power, as the frontier of Tierra del Fuego, like the frontier of the West in the United States and Canada or any frontier, really, is about the clash between “civilization” and “barbarism.” Just because Perrissin sets this in a place unfamiliar to most people doesn’t change the paradigm too much. The natives in the area, mainly the Yamana, have a choice to make–accommodate the Europeans and try to learn their ways, or resist as fiercely as possible and get killed or die out.Ultimately, Perrissin comes down on the same side as most liberal writers–that the natives would have been better off without the “benefits” of “civilization”–but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t try to show the kindness of people like Bridges, who really do believe they’re working to make the natives’ lives better.For another of Burgas's reviews, see Greg Burgas Reviews Scalped.

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