Jobnik!

An American Girl’s Adventures in the Israeli Army

It takes more to make a great autobiographical graphic novel than a good story. Miriam Libicki has a pitch that many would want to read about — she’s an American Jew who enlisted in the Israeli Army — but her art is painfully unready for professional publication, and she’s not able to structure various incidents in a way that adds up to anything more than “and then this happened”.

“Jobnik” is Army slang for a soldier who works a desk job instead of seeing combat. Miriam is a pudgy American girl whose stories are mostly about which men she’s interested in or sleeping with. Her Hebrew is lacking, which limits her activities.

Libicki’s art resembles that of a child, with interchangeable round-faced figures and a lack of perspective. Her people look like poorly formed lumps of dough. The heavy shading with visible pencil lines in the early pages makes it difficult to tell the characters from the background.

Even more problematic is the lack of context and character background. I wanted to know more about the politics, in some cases, but the author seems to assume that I’m already familiar with them. I also wished Miriam had more self-awareness, that she explained more of her motivations.

Although the environment has a lot of potential for gripping stories, too often, we see her simply listening to the news or engaging in other pedestrian activities. The author doesn’t seem to know which stories to select to make her life interesting to the reader. The amateur art just makes the flaws more obvious.

Some of the structural issues may be a result of the way it was created. This book wasn’t originally a graphic novel, but individual series installments. Under these covers are issues 1-6 of a self-published comic. Jobnik! can be ordered through comic shops with code OCT08 4337 for arrival in December. A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.


2 Responses to “Jobnik!”

  1. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Nov. 18, 2008: Our side of the equation Says:

    [...] [Review] Jobnik! Link: Johanna Draper Carlson [...]

  2. The Jewish Culture Log of Arts » Blog Archive » Miriam Libicki in Seattle tonight - comic book reading and discussion Says:

    [...] grounds the reader in moral questions of war and Libicki’s excruciating loneliness. Jobnik! Miriam Libicki has a pitch that many would want to read about — she’s an American Jew who [...]




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