Laid Waste

Julia Gfrörer. Fantagraphics, $14.99 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-60699-971-4
Gfrörer’s (Black is the Color) medieval world is full of rats, fleas, miracles, and mass death. A mother begs Hermes and Hades not to take her infant daughter, but upon awakening, she finds the child, Agnès, has been buried in the churchyard of an unnamed town. The frantic mother digs up the baby to find her still breathing. This grim beginning sets off an even grimmer narrative of plague, hapless deaths, furtive couplings, and stoic survival. Gfrörer’s drawings are simple and elegant, with the same four-panel grid used on every page as if to emphasize the merciless monotony of passing days. The black and white line work is beautifully scratchy, capturing the rough textures of Agnès’s life–handwoven fabrics, thatched roofs, and the soil of graves. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/21/2016
Release date: 10/01/2016
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