Sunday, February 17, 2013

Comic Book Finds: Berlin 17 & 18

Title: Berlin
Issues: #17-18
Release: November 2010 and January 2012
Writer and Artist: Jason Lutes
Image via The Beguiling

Berlin is one of the most rewarding comic book series I have discovered.  The story begins in 1928 and, according to plan, will eventually run through 1933.  I have previously reviewed two trade publications: City of Stones (Issues 1-8) and City of Fire (9-16).  Issue 17 begins the third book of the trilogy, City of Light

The strength of this series, as with any good historical fiction, is the portrayal of the everyday lives of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.  In #17, Severing, a journalist, visits Berlin's Communist Party headquarters.  His intentions are unclear: is he thinking of joining?  writing a story?  While there, he encounters a 12-year-old girl, Silvia.  He doesn't know her but we do: essentially orphaned by the May Day Massacre but finding her way, dependent on help, yet tough as nails.  The issue ends with with Marthe (Severing's former lover) and Anna (Marthe's current lover) caught in a compromising position by their landlady.
Image via Drawn & Quarterly

#18, the most recent issue to be released, finds Severing descending into alcoholism, depression or both.  Silvia runs into trouble, both at home (she's been taken in by a Jewish family) and on the streets.  Marthe and Anna visit a nightclub, where matters take an unfortunate turn.

As readers with historical perspective, we know life in Germany is going to get a lot harder before it gets easier, especially for those already on society's fringes.  One can't help but feel invested in the characters' future.  I can't find anything about when we can expect #19 but I'm hoping soon.  If the previous 14-month interval is anything to go on, March 2013 seems like a possibility.

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