Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans

Roland Owen Laird, Author, Elihu Bey, Illustrator, Taneshia Nash Laird, With . Sterling $14.95 (220p) ISBN 978-1-4027-6226-0

This updated volume recounts the story of African-Americans in the United States from the year 1619 through the election of Barack Obama, and it's a compelling (if dense) chronicle of this incendiary period, from the indentured servitude that morphed into chattel slavery, emancipation, the civil rights movement and beyond. The comprehensive text may be worth a read, but the entire book is marred with amateurish artwork. Artist Bey displays only the most rudimentary of basic visual storytelling techniques; the layouts are haphazard, with the figures' hands and heads often cut off, and the grafittiesque/”cartoony” art style is inappropriate for the material. It's disappointing that a historical work with the potential for crossover appeal gets poleaxed by subpar visuals that trivialize the text. Parts of the book bear so little visual gravitas that it comes off as a “black man's struggle” coloring book, and that's a shame. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2009
Release date: 02/01/2009
Hardcover - 206 pages - 978-0-393-04538-3
Paperback - 206 pages - 978-0-393-31751-0
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-22638-7
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