*Nelson — Recommended

A description of the premise, while intriguing, doesn’t do the project justice. Nelson is a multi-creator anthology in which each artist shows us a day in another year in Nelson’s life, from her birth in 1968 to what she’s doing in 2011. Along the way, we see how attitudes and lifestyles change in the UK over the decades, while noticing the patterns that repeat themselves as people grow up, struggling against becoming their parents.

It’s a wonderful glimpse of the wide range of talent working in the UK today. I was eager to see work by my known favorites, such as Andi Watson, Ellen Lindner, Roger Langridge, Woodrow Phoenix, and Posy Simmonds, but I didn’t realize how many new (to me) creators I’d discover as well, including editor Rob Davis, Sarah McIntyre, Sean Longcroft, Rian Hughes, Kate Brown, Adam Cadwell, Garen Ewing, and Laura Howell. The biographies section, with more information on the artists and their work, is thus appreciated.

I was amazed to see how much depth was found in what could have been just a star-studded game. The material isn’t superficial. We see Nelson’s parents cope with the death of another child, try to manage the wife’s mother’s racism (complicated by the husband’s friendship with a black co-worker), the move to the suburbs to raise the children, fears of nuclear war, and political changes affecting employment.

More, it’s a touching portrait of a universal life, from how parents hope the world for their baby to the challenge and wonder of raising an imaginative child to having to make choices about the future while not feeling ready. There are overheated vacations and changing fashions and teenage pranks, plus lots of adolescent rebellion and sibling rivalry as Nelson struggles through art school and pursuing creative work.

The book rewards your attention, especially since the characters can be drawn differently in different styles. I was left thinking about both what Nelson and I had in common and how different we are (especially given the cultural and political differences between the US and the UK).

If you buy directly from publisher Blank Slate, they are donating all profits to Shelter, a housing and homelessness charity. If nothing else, that link will give you the full list of contributors. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)


6 Responses to “*Nelson — Recommended”

  1. James Schee Says:

    This sounds really good, too bad its out of print here in US as I’d love to see it. (but am not paying ridiculous prices used on Amazon or messing with currency exchange rates) Is it available digital through Comixology?

  2. Johanna Says:

    It’s not out of print in the US, just not yet officially released here. It’s due out through Diamond at the end of the month. The Amazon prices are actually right in line with the 18.99 pound price. Current exchange rates puts that at about $29.50, and Amazon sellers have it starting at $23.50.

  3. James Schee Says:

    Huh Amazon said out of print, should have said not yet available then. lol I’ll see how much it is there for it when it comes out then, as even the Amazon sellers price with S&H that’s still retail. And I never pay retail for anything anymore.:)

  4. Kenny Penman Says:

    Hi Johanna

    thanks so much for the thoughtful and positive review of Nelson it’s always nice to see coverage that side of the pond. Interesting that you found similarities but also many differences growing up in the US as opposed to here in the UK. Although we seem so alike on the surface many points are an unexpected disconnect even though they still inform all our lives. I’m slightly surprised that Diamond haven’t got them into stores yet as we shipped to them around a month ago but I’m guessing come Christmas they may have other priorities than imported GN’s. Sure they will be in better US stores soon. We will try and make the book available next year through someone like Comixology but want to maximise revenue for this first period where monies are going to charity. Thanks again – it was lovely to read your review.

    best
    Kenny

  5. Brett Sean Says:

    I went on Amazon to see when will be officially released but they didn’t tell. Do you know when will it be? I also tried to pre order it but I couldn’t.

  6. Johanna Says:

    I think that depends on whether the publisher wants to work with Amazon.com. It’s in stock on the UK Amazon site, which doesn’t do us any good. :)

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