Moving Pictures

Created by: Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen

Published by: Top Shelf

ISBN: 1603090495 (Amazon)

Pages: 144

Genre: Drama, Historical

Moving Pictures

Until I read Daytripper a day later, Moving Pictures was almost certainly the best comic I’d read in the last year. The Immonens share a kind of creative chemistry that generates some of the most worthwhile comics to be produced (see: Never As Bad As You Think). Granted, for the most part, comics have only been producing worthwhile works in the last twenty years, so the competition is a bit limp compared to other media.

That said, Moving Pictures is a fantastic little book. A novella of sorts, exploring the interrogation of Ila Gardner, a young Canadian curator of third-rate art in German-occupied Paris, by Rolf Hauptmann, a member of Germany’s Military Art Commission. The Commission is tasked to retrieve famous works from the French who have squirreled the works away to prevent the theft (and possible destruction) of their art. While the single interrogation comprises the backbone of the story, the Immonens add depth and explanation via multiple brief flashbacks.

The story is well-told and exhibits its creators’ mastery over the medium. Stuart Immonen’s art is sparse and minimalist throughout. His characterization is wonderful and his pitch-perfect use of the spare line lends his characters credibility. The interrogation is draped in shadow, making its two players shine brightly against the darkness.

Kathryn’s script crackles with irreverent wit such that the book in many ways feels like a well-conceived adaptation of a theatrical play. The plotting is graceful, offering revelations at good intervals, neither leaning too heavily on flashback nor hashing out too much exposition in the interrogation dialogue. And beautifully, the flashbacks do not unfold chronologically.

Even as it draws to a close, Moving Pictures leaves plenty to think about and much to discuss.

 

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