cover image The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs

The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs

Etienne Davodeau, Trans. by Joe Johnson. NBM/ComicsLit, $29.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-56163-703-4

This intensely thought-provoking graphic novel makes us pause to consider our relationships with other people and asks us to think about who we are, what we do, and how we perceive and relate to the world around us. Davodeau (Le Constat) approaches wine maker Richard Leroy with a proposition: that the two spend several months together teaching one another about their respective vocations. Leroy would read graphic novels, attend conventions, and meet people in the industry, while Davodeau would learn the ins and outs of harvesting a grape crop and running a vineyard. Those perusing the opening pages may wonder whether the book will simply be an exercise in telling, with the “experts” explaining to one another—and therefore to us—the day-to-day concerns of their profession. Instead, what comes through clearly is that both men genuinely appreciate others whose attitudes and principles decidedly differ from their own. Davodeau reinforces this idea of quiet appreciation with a muted color palette, as well as through his consummate skill in illustrating moments of careful consideration and reflection so important to both of his characters’ vocations. (Apr.)