Oftentimes there is only one media form that allows creators to fully realize what is in their heads. The only way to show this to an audience is through the graphic novel, sequential art, comics, or whatever buzzword is being used to categorize the funnies these days. While I have seen this theory bantered around, I thought it only really applied to the visual side of the medium. Then I read East of West.
Author Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Dragotta’s East of West is one of the most convoluted, confounding, and ultimately rewarding series I’ve ever read. Based on the notion that the Civil War didn’t end until it absolutely had to, and the Union was not preserved, but rather fragmented into several different factions, this is heavy, rich narrative at its best. Throw mysticism, apocrypha, and political intrigue into that mix, and you have a winner! More than what I’ve already told you would really be giving away some of the best comics reading I’ve done in more than ten years.
Who will it appeal to? Everyone, really. Fantasy fans, as there are quests to find loved ones (And Death’s journey to reunite his family is one of the more compelling parts of the book). Science Fiction fans, as technology unchecked in a land of opportunity is one of the avenues explored here. Alternate history fans? This has you written all over it! Don’t think I’ve left out fans of Westerns, either, because if you love that genre, there are plenty of its trappings here for you to enjoy.
So, if you want to read about The Kingdom of New Orleans, The Confederacy, The Union, Armistice, The Endless Nation, The PRA of Mao, and The Independent Republic of Texas as they now form what used to be the United States, you could do a lot worse than checking out East of West, but be forewarned. These are comics that you must wear your thinking cap to understand fully. But it’s one hell of an unforgettable ride.