John Pistelli


Nick Drnaso, Sabrina

SabrinaSabrina by Nick Drnaso

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I won’t write a long review of this book because I’ve already demonstrated ad nauseam in what I’ve said about Chris Ware and Adrian Tomine that I am unsympathetic to the aesthetic tradition to which this celebrated graphic novel belongs, and that I am also dismayed at how this tradition is often seen by the broader literary world to represent the apex of the comics medium (as shown by Sabrina‘s place on this year’s Man Booker long list). This is a tradition that answers deadness with deadness, anhedonia with anhedonia, ugliness with ugliness, paranoia with paranoia—an artistic dead end, as far as I’m concerned, though I’m sure I’m just a naive neo-Romantic. An intelligent positive review by Greg Hunter suggests uncharitable readings of Sabrina and then explains why they are wrong; I agree with the uncharitable readings (“It’s an eminently — even excessively — adult and respectable approach to comics fiction”) but appreciate Hunter’s retorts. Another excellent positive appraisal of Sabrina is [P]’s review on Goodreads: “The trust…that is placed in us as readers is extremely satisfying.” As for me, I’ll be occupying my usual place in the world of comics and graphic novels—trying not to get struck by stray thunderbolts on the field where Alan Moore and Grant Morrison wage occult war.


View all my reviews. If you would like to support my work, you might please buy, read, and review Portraits and Ashes or The Ecstasy of Michaela (or even just pledge via email to exchange a free ebook for an honest public review). Thanks!

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