cover image The Silence of Our Friends

The Silence of Our Friends

Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell. FSG/First Second, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59643-618-3

From the opening scene, this graphic novel written by Long and Demonakos is compelling. Set in Houston in 1968, it tells the story of two families—one black and one white—who are witness to and participants in events that shaped the South in the late 1960s. The novel is a loosely autobiographical account of the Long family, who moved from San Antonio to Houston in 1966, and experienced the protests, violence, and struggle for freedom that characterized the Third and Fifth Wards. Long’s father had moved to Houston to take a job as a local television reporter, and there he met Larry Thomas, the editor of an antipoverty weekly. This graphic novel presents an engrossing narrative about race in America, while honestly dealing with a host of other real-world issues, including familial relationships, friendship, dependency, “other”-ness, and perhaps most importantly, the search for common ground. Powell—an award-winning cartoonist in his own right for Swallow Me Whole—tells a story in pictures that is just as compelling as what Long and Demonakos tell in words. (Jan.)