Berlin: City of Stones
This is the first of three volumes of a graphic novel series by comics creator Jason Lutes, who both wrote and drew this comic. To keep with my theme of reading comics about times and places that I don't know a lot about, "Berlin" takes place in the German city during the Weimar Republic. It has no real central characters, the two most likely to qualify being a man and a woman who meet on the train going into Berlin. These are Marthe Muller, an aspiring artist, and Kurt Severing, a somewhat cynical journalist. But there are loads more characters who populate Berlin at this fascinating time: artists, communists, Nazis, workers, Jews, policemen, and members of the bourgeoisie. Seeing how each of them changed over time as times began to change for Germany in the late twenties is both fascinating and chilling, especially for anything to do with the early Nazis.
Lutes' drawing style is amazing. It's very realistic, making it look like he's actually captured some of the scenes from life. Some of the characters do look confusingly similar, and a couple of times I was mixed up as to who was who. I also like how both Marthe and Kurt narrate the story, Marthe in cursive with everyone's name abbreviated (as if in a diary) and Kurt's resembling as if he had done his on a typewriter. it both makes the two distinct and gives insight into their characters.
All in all, I really liked this comic, and I look forward to reading the second volume. It's a great portal to a time and place that isn't well known to us Americans, but that is nonetheless fascinating, and Lutes populates it with all sorts of interesting characters. Definitely check it out if you get the chance.
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