Graphic Novel Review: The City Of Belgium by Brecht Evens

The City Of Belgium by Brecht Evens. Drawn & Quarterly, 2021. 9781770463424. 336pp.

The City of Belgium starts with a guy getting ready to move, calling friends to figure out what he’s going to do on his last night in town. It ends with a conversation on a beach that he’s not involved in. In between is a lot of partying, some drama, and a ton of conversations. The voices are amazing, and like in Evens’ other graphic novels they’re lettered in a different color for each character. The flow is great, especially the effortless way the book shifts focus from one character to another and back again (and no one draws characters in conversation better than Evens). But the star of the book, as with Evens’ others (The Making Of, Panther, The Wrong Place) is his art; it feels both loose and exact. Characters’ morph from panel to panel, expressing deep feelings and drunken boisterousness and all-out sadness. And so often in this book I’d turn a page and just stop and say, “Wow!” There’s so much going on on some pages while on others the drawings are minimalistic — but they’re always fantastic. I borrowed this copy from the library but I’m going to immediately buy one for myself — it’s perfect for dipping into here and there, and it will easily double as a compelling coffee table art book for folks to flip through.


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