Graphic Novel Review: Land of the Sons
Posted on February 19, 2019 at 11:42 am by Gene Ambaum
Land of the Sons by Gipi. Fantagraphics, 2018. 9781683960775. 288pp.
Two boys eek out a living in a post-apocalyptic landscape under the tutelage of their father. Their father shows them no love, and at the beginning of the book, as they skin the dog they managed to kill in a fly-infested swamp, one of them considers skinning their father, too. They trade for food, they fish with dynamite, and are told not to touch the corpses they occasionally find. After the boys leave home, they encounter men much worse than their father.
Gipi’s black and white graphic novel is amazing in ways that snuck up on me. He draws the characters and their world in what at first glance looked like a bunch of black scribbles, but is in fact an expressive, brutal masterpiece. The boys harsh father clearly loves them, but is raising them to be uncaring and amoral because that’s the only way they’ll survive. He hasn’t taught them to read but keeps a journal. At one point Gipi even gives us a look at its pages, through the boys’ eyes, at text we can’t also read — an experience that reminded me of looking at art like Cy Twombly’s Untitled (NYC) (1968).)