September 07, 2010

Greg Burgas reviews Native Heart

Here's another review for the graphic novel I covered in Review of Native Heart. You can read the whole review, but I'll give you the highlights:

A review a day:  Native Heart

By Greg BurgasThere’s a lot to like about this comic, even though it’s not perfect.

McMurtry does a marvelous job with the art, which is the stronger part of the book by far. Occasionally his faces are a bit grotesque and unreal. ... But other than that, the book reminds me of classic Western paintings, with delicate linework and expansive vistas even when the scene is a bit more claustrophobic.

McMurtry’s story doesn’t hold up as well, unfortunately. It’s not terrible and it’s interesting to read because we get to know something about a person we may not know much about. ... McMurtry doesn’t get into his life enough prior to the murder, although he does try.

This is a refreshing book because it doesn’t show Native Americans who are battling to hold onto their lifestyles in the face of American encroachment--there’s nothing wrong with that story, but we’ve seen it before--it’s a story of a tribe who holds onto some aspects of their traditional culture but also tries to do what the Americans claim they wanted the Indians to do...and it still doesn’t matter.

Despite the gaps in the storytelling, McMurtry does some nice work. He moves the tale along well, and the brief insights he gives us into Christie’s life and world are better than nothing, to be sure. It just seems like Christie was far more interesting in real life than he is in this comic, and that’s too bad.

You can get this book at McMurtry’s web site, where you can also find some other stuff he’s done. I imagine he’ll get better at writing, which will make his books much better. He’s an interesting talent and I hope to see more from him.
Comment:  For more on Christie, see Mock Trial for Ned Christie. For more on the Native comic books, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.

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