Inquiries into history and outsider status spark a striking sampling of recent graphic literature. Nick Abadzis's homage to the first dog in space, is largely traditional in its blend of image and word. Similarly, Ann Marie Fleming's reconstruction of the story of her great-grandfather, Rutu Modan's edgy walk along the personal-political border, and Adrian Tomine's finely drawn analysis of young, over-intellectualized love hew to lesser and greater degrees of relative conventionality. A history of Students for a Democratic Society resembles Harvey Pekar's "American Splendor" series in its deadpan realism but transcends the expected by virtue of its many voices. Laurence Hyde's offering is a replica of a 1951 "novel of the South Seas" told in wood engravings. It is a stunning narrative in which the visuals, some tortured but all transcendent, do all the talking necessary.
(Carlo Wolff / Globe Correspondent)