Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague

Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli. Hill and Wang, $22 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8090-3553-3
With visuals that blend cartoon-style appeal with documentary realism, Brabner’s (American Splendor) chronicle of grassroots activism in N.Y.C.’s gay community during the early days of the AIDS crisis grabs readers from its opening splash page. Based on the account of a nurse who worked in the city in the early 1980s, as the mysterious “gay plague” wielded its scythe, this graphic novel is a testament to and celebration of the bravery of those who fought for better care for the afflicted. In a New York version of Dallas Buyers Club, the community banded together to use the profits from sales of high-quality marijuana to travel to smuggle in mass quantities of Ribavarin from Mexico for free distribution to those who suffered the ravages of the disease. Using a network of operatives (some within the medical profession), disguises, and a van tricked out with multiple smuggling compartments, these angels of mercy put their careers and personal freedom on the line in a brave, clandestine crusade of organized crime coupled with socially conscious activism. Zingarelli crisply illustrates a story long hidden. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/06/2014
Release date: 11/18/2014
Genre: Comics
Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-4299-5615-4
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-374-53662-6
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