cover image The Realist

The Realist

Asaf Hanuka. Boom!, $24.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-60886-688-5

This collection of autobiographical comics, originally published in the Israeli newspaper Calcalist, showcases illustrator Hanuka's marvelous range and depth while delving into deeply personal feelings of alienation and loss. Hanuka (The Divine, Pizzeria Kamikaze) crafts single-page strips that explore his often fragile existence: a rocky home life with his wife and son, from whom he feels cut off; an artistic job that once brought him pleasure, but now consumes him with stress; chronic medical and financial issues; and the pressures of daily life in Tel Aviv, where paranoia and civil unrest hold sway. Though he has plenty of external excuses for his occasional misanthropy, Hanuka is harder on himself than anyone in these strips, using simple but stunning visual metaphors to describe how the creator isolates himself even from those he loves, yet still remains addicted to outside validation via social media. The collection's title, it quickly becomes clear, is painfully accurate. Often obtuse but always heartbreaking, Hanuka's work is a diverse and fascinating portrait of what life truly makes us. (Apr.)