cover image PTSD


Guillaume Singelin. First Second, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-626723-18-4

Huddled in the empty, rain-soaked street under the awning of a noodle shop, pink-haired ex-sniper Jun lets out a groan: “I just want some peace.” After a lifetime spent at war, peace is far from possible for the abandoned army of veterans who haunt French-Laotian artist Singelin’s grim urban landscape. Returning from a jungle war homeless, friendless, and deeply scarred, Jun’s new battlegrounds are the neon-lit alleyways where the decorated crack shot is reduced to stealing drugs that dull her nightmarish flashbacks. Singelin’s lush watercolors bring rich, tropical texture to the infinitely detailed, Tokyo-inspired cityscape. The spiraling city and vibrant colors give the world a surreal, out-of-time quality, like a violent dream. Unlike in macho tales of grit and glory, Singelin infuses his story and characters with deep, simmering warmth. Jun finds companionship in the form of a stubborn dog and a gold-hearted soup-seller, both of who refuse to abandon her despite Jun’s insistence that she’s too damaged to help. An older veteran croaks sagely to her as he dies, “I never let anyone help me... I fled from reality, and now I’m paying for it with my life.” Peace doesn’t come from pills or power, Jun slowly learns, but from vulnerability. This is a gorgeous meditation on the lingering horrors of war. (Feb.)