Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 46

No One Is Safe

by Katherine Wirick
1 page (150+ panels)
Purchase digital edition for $5

No One Is Safe is an emotional work building its pathos on several foundations. It doesn’t as violently tear at one’s heart as, say, Twin Spica does, but in being modeled on real life, its agonies seem more present—even if of a more quiet variety. Wirick investigates the Kent State shooting, her father’s relationship to the Kent State shooting, and her own relationship to an ailing father. Her investment seems total. There are moments when the project looks as if it may be too much for her to bear. The reader knows this because as an interruptive narrator, she tells us as much; but these parentheticals, these hiccoughs, are not missteps in her narrative—indeed, the four or five panels in which she breaks from script and invites us into her experience of pain are some of the work’s defining moments. Not only are they abrupt breaks in the narrative chain, but they visually take a step away from the project’s principal conceit.

Wirick’s tremendous five-by-five-foot grid is composed of over 150 separate pieces of paper. They are painted on, drawn on, in such a way as to resemble the photographs we may remember from the ‘60s—black and white with a quarter-inch of white border. These are fastened to her canvas with those little adhesive corner mounts that were common in all the best photo albums when I was four. Wirick’s three stories unfold and untangle and retangle across these “photographs” in a manner that is at once both practiced-and-careful and comfortably fluid. She appears in this work a confident author whose work deserves whatever attention you will afford it. And then she breaks her rules spectacularly.

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