Zane Pinchback, the light-skinned reporter from the black newspaper The New Holland Herald is back! The graphic novel Incognegro introduced us to Zane and the daring way he goes about writing stories about the lynchings that were taking place all over the south during the 1920s.
Zane continues to use this approach in a new graphic novel called Incognegro Renaissance #1. This will be the first in a series of graphic novels featuring Zane Pinchback and continues to take place in New York during the Harlem Renaissance, giving the name to the series.
The story begins of course with a murder as most mysteries do, but soon we see that Mat Johnson the author is setting central characters, setting, but most of all social complexities of this time period for black people. We’re in New York and Johnson shows the race division was clearly traced of where black people were allowed to be even within the famous Cotton Club of the time located in the heart of Harlem. Zane is a determined reporter and won’t stop until he uncovers the truth.
Incognegro Renaissance #1 is a pretty straight forward mystery, with beautiful black and white artwork from Warren Pleece who also drew for Incognegro. The graphic novel is split into 5 major chapters. The 2 major complaints I have with Incognegro Renaissance #1 is that it’s too short and secondly the pages aren’t numbered. I was expecting the story to be a lot more developed like Incognegro, but I guess Mat Johnson is taking his time to build this series. Despite those two complaints, it was a very quick and enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to seeing how Zane passing for white helps him solve the murders of black people but also affects his relationships with his friends and colleagues in future volumes.
I recommend beginning with Incognegro because it will give you more background on the character of Zane Pinchback, as well as the other minor characters surrounding him. You’ll then be able to get into the prequel, Incognegro Renaissance #1 with a better feel of the story. I checked to see if the following graphic novels Incognegro #2 and Incognegro #3 have been released. I found that they have been but sadly only in Kindle format. I’ll have to wait until they come out in paper format and I have no idea when that will be. If and when I hear anything I’ll let you know. If you hear anything please let me know. 🙂
Incognegro Renaissance #1, hardcover (Berger Books)
After reading Warpworld, the science-fiction novel that happily surprised me, I just couldn’t decide what to pick up next. So after having a quick look over a few of my shelves, French Milk seemed to be calling my name. French Milk was written by Lucy Knisley and published in 2007. Earlier this year I read Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, which was the first novel I read from Knisley, which I reviewed favourably.
What I loved about Relish I also loved about French Milk too. French Milk recounts Lucy and her mother’s six-week stay in Paris in 2006 to highlight her mother turning 50 and Lucy turning 23. The book is a mixture of illustration and photography. Knisley has a brilliant style of illustrating that appeals to many. It’s really an excellent idea to talk about Paris in this way. She is very candid and seems to have left nothing out of her six weeks in Paris. She talks about all of their visits, what they eat, the oddities of their 5th arrondissement apartment, and the particularities of the French.
If you live in France and/or know a bit about Paris, it will make you laugh, smile and surely nod your head in agreement on quite a lot of things. Knisley has a very keen sense of observation during her brief stay in Paris. Her book definitely makes for an excellent publicity praising how scrumptious French food can be too. The entire book was making we want to go out and get some foie gras and it’s not even the moment to eat foie gras. It’s too darn hot!
Needless to say, check out French Milk it’s got the list of what to do, see, and eat when you finally get to Paris for a visit. If you already live in France it’ll make you want to re-visit some places. The only thing I disagreed with Knisley on was the milk. She made it sound as if there was no low-fat milk in France, when actually there is full-fat, half-fat, and low-fat. I guess she never saw the others, but I strongly agree that the milk tastes delicious here. It doesn’t taste a thing like what I grew up drinking in the States. Be that as it may, this is a book that is well worth the time and not bad for lounging on the beach on holiday either.
Food glorious food! I picked up Relish: My Life in the Kitchen after discovering it on Goodreads. Being that I love food, recipes, fresh ingredients and cooking, I had to give this a try. It’s a graphic novel depicting the life of Lucy Knisley through food. She was lucky enough to be surrounded by a mother who was an excellent chef and a father who knows when he’s getting a good meal. She was encouraged to eat healthy and was exposed to an eclectic array of food and cultures. Relish consists of twelve chapters starting from her childhood to her years at university in Chicago. At the end of each chapter there is a recipe that is straight forward and easy to produce, which consists of simple drawings and measurements. It correlates to the preceding chapter. There are recipes for sangria, guacamole, chai tea, pesto, mushrooms, etc. This would make a lovely present for a lover of food and of graphic novels. The artwork is excellent and it’s a fast read that you’ll want to take your time with.
Lucy Knisley is the writer and designer of quite a few other works such as Radiator Days, Make Yourself Happy, and French Milk, which recounts Lucy and her mother’s move to France and living in a 5th arrondissement apartment in Paris for six weeks, among other works. French Milk is a travel journal that combines photography, drawings, and introspection. Knisley is an American writer, comic, and musician, who studied art at The Art Institute in Chicago. With her touching graphic novels about travel and food and her music and videos she has become a growing success online. You can can learn more about her on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/user/lucylou21?feature=watch and her blog at http://www.lucyknisley.com and http://lucyknisley.tumblr.com. Check out the video on her tumblr where Mtv interviews her about Relish: My Life in the Kitchen.
Title: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
Genre: Graphic Novel/Food/Memoir/Cookbook
Edition: First Second
My rating: * * * *