Sunday, February 25, 2018

Reader's Diary #1744- Mark Long and Jim Demonakos (writers), Nate Powell: The Silence of Our Friends

In The Silence of Our Friends, Mark Long recalls his white father's relationship to a black man during a particularly dangerous time in Houston's history. The father, Jack, was a reporter and his friend, Larry, was an activist who advocated that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee be allowed to demonstrate for civil rights at Texas Southern University. Despite the SNCC's stance against violence, local police would make it violent. In one particularly fateful altercation, a police officer was inadvertently shot by another officer, but black protestors would be blamed. Jack's eye-witness testimony wound up being crucial.

The Silence of Our Friends is but one of many powerful stories to come out of the fight for civil rights and a very important one for allies especially. Long, Demonakos, and Powell do an admirable job showcasing the pressures allies face while helping in the struggle and the importance of persevering. They are also very careful to acknowledge that these struggles are still nothing compared to those with whom they are allied. Among the more dramatic moments, there were often more softer, touching moments. Scenes of Jack and Larry's children innocently playing together were quite moving.

Nate Powell (whose work I recognized from the more recent March series) is well suited for such historical works. In a style similar to Will Eisner's, his art has a lifelike tone, with emotive characterizations, and an approach to panels that dials in an out from hard fact history to more subtle, personal stories.

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