ROAD TO AMERICA

Baru, Author, Drawn & Quarter, Author, Drawn & Quarterly, Manufactured by . Drawn & Quarterly $14.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-896597-52-2

Set mainly in late 1950s Algeria and France during Algeria's war of independence, this work tells of young, working-class Algerian Said Boudiaf, whose first offer to box professionally comes as car bombs explode in the street nearby. His brother joins the resistance against the French, while Said leaves for France to fight professionally. When Said arrives in the Paris train station, a gendarme hits him and calls him a "dirty Arab" before the apologetic French Minister of Sports greets him. Fighting his way to the championship, Said avoids taking sides in the conflict, convinced sport is beyond politics. The French government and the Algerian resistance use Said as a propaganda tool, but Said only wants to box. Agents of the Algerian National Liberation Army trail him, threatening his life, and when Said wins the French Boxing Championship, the crowd erupts in rioting, French against Algerian. Said makes it to America and qualifies to fight for the world title, but when he returns to Paris during the intervening months before his title fight, he's caught up in the turmoil of October 17, 1961, the day thousands marched in Paris's streets to protest curfews against Algerians and faced violent repression by police. This intriguing book brings a sad, tumultuous slice of history to life with vivid artistry. Printed in Italy on a near card-stock paper, it is artfully drawn, with Baru's fluid line and masterful panel work, and Daniel Ledran's subtle, rich color. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 03/01/2002
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