Great minds and Big Brain

Three local graphic novelists showcase their work this Saturday.

Local comic artist Brittney Sabo shows her work Tuesday at her studio apartment in south Minneapolis.  Sabo and co-author Anna Bratton's new comic book will be featured at Big Brain Comics following their book signing on Saturday.

Chelsey Rosetter

Local comic artist Brittney Sabo shows her work Tuesday at her studio apartment in south Minneapolis.  Sabo and co-author Anna Bratton’s new comic book will be featured at Big Brain Comics following their book signing on Saturday.

Grace Gouker

Who: Graphic novel authors Brittney Sabo, Anna Bratton and Lars Martinson

What: Book signing and after party

Where:Big Brain Comics, 1027 Washington Ave, S.

When:Saturday, Dec. 4 from 4 p.m. âÄì 7 p.m.

 

ThereâÄôs been a palpable shift in the readership and content of graphic novels since their inception. TheyâÄôve progressed from their beginnings with heavily caricatured âÄúgoodâÄù guys fighting âÄúbadâÄù guys to save the world. Now, seemingly insignificant characters are fighting to make sense of a world that has evolved uncontrolled.

âÄúFrancis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny!âÄù by Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton, brings to life Depression-era vexation that speaks to anyone whoâÄôs experienced the recent Great Recession.

âÄúAs for the 1930s overall, I think a quote from Daniel Knauf, the creator of the television series âÄòCarnivale,âÄô describes my fascination with the time period,âÄù Sabo said. âÄúHe called it the âÄòlast great age of magic,âÄô before World War II and the atomic bomb.âÄù

Francis, the bookâÄôs title character, retreats into sanctimonious and fantastical seclusion to avoid the realities he faces with his family. Set on a New Jersey farmin the âÄô30s, the novel plunges adults and children alike into hardships that were sometimes easier to ignore than to overcome. Sabo, like many of the children that may read her books, easily identifies with Francis.

âÄúI know I had a lot of trouble as a child with focusing on things outside of my head and daydreaming,âÄù Sabo said. âÄúAt times it seemed like I just might stumble into another strange reality.âÄù

âÄúFrancis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny!âÄù will be one of two books featured at the upcoming, âÄúThree Cartoonists. Two Graphic Novels. One Night,âÄù event at Big Brain Comics.

Lars Martinson, creator of the new graphic novel âÄúTonoharuâÄù will be presenting his work as well.

This novel, in contrast with âÄúFrancis Sharp,âÄù is from an adult point of view, taking on Japan in a capacity that many post-grads dream of âÄî as a language teacher. Upon arrival, however, the main character, Dan Wells, realizes that the cultural barriers that separate him from his new surroundings are almost impossible to scale.

Pulled from MartinsonâÄôs personal experience in Japan, the novel reflects the clear disconnect between the U.S. and its global neighbors. As described in the work, itâÄôs not always the host who alienates the guest, as obscured and surreptitious feelings of cultural superiority on the part of the guest can be the deal-breaker in such situations.

Both of these graphic novels, and all three of their authors and illustrators, encapsulate and juxtapose fantasy against stark, real-world dilemmas. Design intricacies and clever cultural commentary impel readers to reexamine their environments, marking both novels as exceptional reads.