cover image The Photographer of Mauthausen

The Photographer of Mauthausen

Salva Rubio and Pedro J. Colombo, trans. from the French by Matt Madden. Dead Reckoning, $19.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-68247-627-7

Francisco Boix, a Spanish photographer during WWII, is interred in January of 1941 by the Nazis in Mauthausen, a concentration camp for political dissidents, in this horrific and provocative graphic novel based on a true story. At Mauthausen, prisoners are routinely worked to death or casually murdered by their captors. After Boix lands a cushy job developing photos, he discovers a cache of images taken of the victims. Boix and his compatriots devise a plan to smuggle out the negatives and provide evidence for the world to finally understand the Nazi atrocities. Colombo skillfully illustrates the tense environment as the photos are transferred from inmate to inmate, beset by a series of close calls and near-discoveries. Depictions of Mauthausen—looming and inescapable—elevate the sense of oppression and paranoia (though Colombo is less adept at differentiating visually between the prisoners). When the Americans liberate the camp, Boix’s quest continues until he eventually testifies at the Nuremberg Trials. His experience is frustrating, and he’s left wondering if the world ever cared about the individual victims, many of whom, like him, are left to fight their spiritual and emotional battles alone. With exacting artistic detail, this complex and often disturbing history comes alive, and is at times thrilling, and just as often disillusioning. (Nov.)