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posted Wednesday, July 18th, 2007   leave a comment or trackback
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51 Responses

  1. Stacy

    WOW.

  2. Denise

    Josh,
    I love panel 13.

  3. Dean Haspiel

    A.D. continues to amaze as Josh pits reportage with art and makes universal fiction with emotional truths. Panel 13 of this chapter is terrifying in its fun house mirror portrayel of the house bending to Katrina’s might. This comic’s eventual destination point [graphic novel?] will be awarded well by its contemporaries.

    My only criticism is with the last panel when the woman screams “I’m gonna die in this bitch!” It felt forced and took me out of the drama. I could almost hear the gangsta drum beats behind her “rap” and wondered if she really blurted that line when she was alone and scared with her cat in the confines of her compromised position? I have faced many awful situations and discovered that my faux bravado diminishes greatly when I think I’m about to perish. Still, if that’s how it went down, I’m impressed!

  4. Denise

    Dean,
    That woman is me, and that is exactly what I was thinking at that moment and for many, many moments during the hurricane. I was terrified, and that was my expression of terror, not false bravado.

    And maybe, just maybe, rap music reflecs the very real language of a very real people. Because, frankly, I talked like that before I ever heard a rap record.

  5. Dean Haspiel

    Hey, Denise–

    Fair enough. I grew up on the origins of hip-hop in the upper west side of Manhattan and I cherish the music. Just ask Josh.

    Still, there are some things that happen in real life that don’t always translate well in adaptation, especially in semi-autobiographical “fiction,” and, for some reason, that very real line of expression [of yours] took me OUT of the drama. I’ve produced many semi-autobio comix and I find myself editing certain facts so I can get to the meat of the truth better for universal consumption. It’s a difficult thing to juggle.

    Thanks for weighing in and thanks for sharing your Katrina experience with Josh and Smith Magazine.

    –Dean

  6. Dan Goldman

    the weight and scope of the hurrican coming down on everyone is heavy and terrifying. you convey this so well that it’s upsetting to read this and more upsetting being left hanging at the end of each episode. bravo, kudos, i’m on the edge of my seat again in this bitch.

  7. jahfurry

    I gots to disagree wholeheartedly w/ Dino above on this one. I think its this exact dialogue, sorta out of left field, maybe a smidged detached, but not reaaallly, drills even deeper into the drama. At home. Talkin like at home, perhaps gonna die in that bitch at home, shellshocked, house rocked. I had a bad wee-plane ride last year, and if i put that into a comic, though terrified up the gazoot, at some point twas outside of myself c and probably said, “I;m gonna die in this motherfucker. Fuck!”

  8. josh

    Dean and Denise, Your exchange was fascinating to me, and in a way I can understand both your points. Certainly, as I was writing the scene, I wouldn’t have had the Denise character say what she did.

    But I have the benefit of having the actual Denise for inspiration! When Denise told me the “I’m gonna die in this bitch” line, I just knew I had to use it. I realize that it may take some readers “out of the story,” but at least in this case, I think it is more important to be tell what really happened.

    Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts, and especially to Denise for letting me portray a uniquely horrifying moment of her real life.

  9. Michel Fiffe

    Portraying such diverse points of views can’t be easy. You pull it off, Josh. They’re all believable, not because they happened, but because your reporting seems to be on point. I can’t wait for this to be collected. It’ll be a “must read”, fer sure, but I also have a few friends (N.O. natives) that’ll be touched deeply by this comic.

    Previous episodes have set it all up. Now it’s time for the horror to happen and I can’t help but feel a deep sadness in regards to the victims. This disaster was ignored by some; this comic dares you to ignore your apathy and confront the fact that people DIED.

  10. Mike Cavallaro

    Powerful stuff, Josh. My gut’s in a knot reading this. Heavy!

  11. josh

    Mike and Mike,

    Thanks for your words of encouragement. You’re right about portraying some of this stuff: it’s almost a burden. Even though I’ve spent years advocating that comics “aren’t just for kids,” it’s a tough thing to draw real people’s pain and loss. But it’s important, and I’m just trying to do it in as respectful a way as possible.

  12. Leo McGovern

    The “And Deli” sign from the Superette showing up on page 9 is brilliant.

    I remember finding a giant sign from the Burger King by U.N.O. at least eight blocks away, on top of a car. Weird, but you’d find odd things like that.

  13. josh

    Leo, glad you caught that little visual link between parts I and II of chapter 5!

  14. Jameson Landon

    About the “gonna-die-in-this-bitch” sentence. I think it would have been more persuasive if the art were more realistic. There’s a mildly abstract quality to the art that tends to suggest a distillation of reality rather than a full-frontal reality to it. I think that I agree with Dean that that line didn’t quite work, but it’s not the line itself but the marriage between tone and art that kind of made me find that panel a little weak.

    It’s got to be hard to get that balance just perfect, but I’m just a reader of comix, not an artist, so I really have no right to talk except as far as knowing what works for me.

  15. josh

    Jameson, I see your point, and probably a more “realistic” artist would have pulled off that line better. But unfortunately I do have sort of a cartoony style, and one can only work with the tools at hand…

  16. Bishakh

    Josh, you’re doing an incredible job here. Best work you’ve ever done. Looking forward to more.

  17. Shannon

    I just saw a peice about this on my local news in Toronto, Canada. I was deeply affected by this storm, having just visited New Orleans a few months before it struck.

    I had to say very good work….I worked with some displaced families, from home a lot of phone work, helping to reunite families in different shelters, and connecting survivors with host families across the country. I heard horror stories that gave me nightmares for a long time.

    A lot of people function with the out of sight out of mind mentality. Unfortunatey, the general population here believes that everything is ok in New Orleans now, and that they were taken care of by their government, because the media doesn’t tell them otherwise.

    Thankfully there’s outlets like this to educate the uninformed.

    KUDOS!!

  18. Tauseef

    I visited the wonderful city of New Orleans in Feb of 2005, and brought back some wonderful memories, which were shattered when I saw the aftermath of Katrina, compounded by the ineptitude of the local, state and federal government agencies. I read stories of unbelievable heroism, incredible sacrifice, searing humanity, humiliating suffering, devastation, tragic loss, and also stories about media bias, racial prejudice, the compounded suffering of the elderly and disabled. I knew that what I was reaching me in suburban Toronto was the tip of the iceberg. I could feel the hand of God calling this so-called great nation to task: we witnessed the true heroes, dangling from helicopters, in police cars, carrying videocameras, holding microphones, resulting in the dispatching of aid from across the continent to help those in need, while FEMA sat on their money-filled hands and thought about acting.
    This immersive story draws me in in a way that a two-dimensional camera shot cannot - by winding around the real, emotional lives of the people as they experienced it, not merely displaying the physical events.

  19. gregp

    This is the greatest goddamned thing I’ve ever read. Anxiously awaiting the graphic novel.

  20. Kathleen

    This is absolutely wonderful. Bless you and bless our New Orleans.

  21. kms

    I would definitely have thought “I’m going to die in this bitch.”
    And I think it’s perfect in the strip.
    I also think Dean is stubborn in his opinions.

  22. Byron

    It’s very strange to be sitting here in St. Louis, reading this because a friend in New Orleans passed it along, and to see my uncle and Brobson and the dogs showing up. I thought it was just a weird coincidence at the beginning. Then I saw the dogs in the kitchen and I was nearly certain. Then, of course, the names. It’s kind of surreal.

    But anyway, good job, it’s very well done so far. Good to see so many aspects shown from the different people down to the dogs and cats.

  23. Sara

    This comic was very interesting. I enjoyed it.

  24. Noraliz Casanova

    Denise: I strongly believe that you are that woman and that you feel terrified by the moment.
    Imagine being at that scene and facing that problem. Words cannot express your feelings at that point. Life resumes all your feelings to a minute and you suddenly don’t know what is happening next.
    The strong personality of denise, do not match her words on this picture, but it shows how desperate someone can be on a crisis like this. She is dying desperately and she is afraid of what will happen next, cause things seem to come to an end.

  25. Bang! Zoom! The Power of Narrative conference 2014 | Josh Neufeld

    [...] I showed the audience parts of another section from A.D., where I used the actual incidence of a sign being blown off Abbas’ store to bridge a scene—the sign comes careening down the street into Denise’s neighborhood, [...]

  26. amlogue3

    The people in New Orleans are starting to feel the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The people had no idea what was going to happen next. The History Channel’s website would agree with that statement of uncertainty because they said, “The storm itself did a great deal of damage, but its aftermath was catastrophic.” They continued to talk about how the storm went on for hours, just raining and raining. Although 34,000 people were saved, many others who did not evacuate before the storm had to protect themselves in the tough times. The storm killed 2,000 people, damaged 90,000 square miles of United States territory, and left those along the Gulf Coast questioning about where to go next.
    Abbas and Darnell beginning to realize how bad this storm is and how it is only going to get worse. The annotation from the History Channel’s website will help a reader better understand the panel and the comic as a whole because it tells you how bad the storm really was and how it ends horribly. When Darnell says how the hurricane isn’t messing around, the link to the website should be put on this panel to show how intense the storm was. Just a thought so people could understand the storm better.

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