GONE TO AMERIKAY Review Roundup via Derek McCulloch
Master storyteller McCulloch’s wise and poignant tale of Irish immigrants coming to America, weaving three different time periods in parallel, is soulfully illustrated by veteran artist Doran. It’s a heartfelt and genuine story of human emotions and drama; nothing post-modern, snarky or ironic here, just believable behavior depicted with lyrical dialog and rich imagery. You’ll want to re-read it as soon as you finish to savor and reflect upon the transcendent intelligence and artistic vision responsible for this masterpiece. Highly recommended.
A sweeping, detailed, beautifully drawn story of love, betrayal and survival, with a small but crucial touch of the supernatural. It’s deliberately paced and slow to build, but the payoff, as the three stories converge, is worth it.
Colleen Doran’s art is magnificent and often breathtaking in Amerikay. She has a glorious eye for detail that seems borne out in everything from the shoes that the immigrant men wear to the vast cityscapes that she draws. There are several cityscape views that are absolutely breathtaking. Despite that eye for detail, Doran is also terrific at drawing the characters in the book. Even secondary characters seem full of life and energy, occasionally threatening to jump off the page.
Bay Area Reporter
The illustrations are colorful and historically informed; the characters appealing, and the degradations and abuses of grinding poverty are never downplayed. In true cliffhanger fashion, the key to the stories’ through-line is not revealed until the book’s final pages. It’s a satisfying spellbinder that speaks truths about the 20th-century immigrant experience – even the gay one.
School Library Journal (also picked Gone to Amerikay as one of the top three graphic novels so far for 2012.)
Not only is this excellent fiction and beautifully rendered art, but the creators have included piles of factual information without making any of it seem more than essential to the story’s unfolding.
A story that is awe inspiring in its grandness of scope, tender in its examination of the immigrant struggle to achieve the American dream and eerily sweet with how it ties the three time periods together….I can continue to gush about Gone to Amerikay, but one truly needs to hold and imbibe this book to “get it.” There is not a wasted word or panel in this tale…Doran is my new goddess; you could take away every word bubble in Gone to Amerikay and spend days simply soaking in the lush detail of each scene and examining the stark emotion on the faces of each character.
Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy.
(GTA is) not only a terrific graphic novel, it is a quintessentially American one…(Doran) is an artist at the peak of her powers, full-throated where power is called for; nuanced and subtle for emotional scenes; detailed, fluid and confident throughout. Doran almost makes you regret her strong storytelling, which gently seduces you into flowing through the three intertwining stories, because you want to stop and gaze at the pictures…I can see Gone to Amerikay being used in English classes to explore story structure; history classes to illustrate themes of immigration and the American Dream; and art classes to teach Doran’s masterful approach to storytelling, blocking and rendering. But, most of all, I expect to see it on a lot of domestic bookshelves as a well-thumbed favorite story.
Doran shows once again that she’s one of the most versatile artists working nowadays …I must also say that José Villarrubia’s colors are stunning, as detailed and evocative as Doran’s completely researched recreation of two rather different decades of New York life. McCulloch’s writing is dense and rewards multiple readings…Gone to Amerikay is a graphic novel I’d recommend both to seasoned readers who appreciate superior storytelling and to casual readers who are looking for interesting gay characters and themes in comics. It might be one of the best things I’ve read in a while, and I’ll certainly read it more than a few times.
Derek McCulloch manages to give this work such intimate depth and real emotional content that many supposedly worthy prose works struggle to achieve… And then in perfect harmony…with the writing is the art. The beautifully clean lines perfectly capture the privations and misery of 1870’s slum life whilst simultaneously dramatising the up-and-coming bohemian bustle of the Greenwich Village social scene of 1960. This is a fabulous work…a mini-masterpiece.
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