Hurd, Damon & Camello, Pedro – My Uncle Jeff
My Uncle Jeff
Wow, my scanner finally made a cover look better than it actually did. Not that it’s a bad cover, it’s just a plain grey background instead of the patchwork-like cover up there. You guys are used to me rambling aimlessly in these reviews by now, right? Good. This book has apparently gotten a mountain of good press, although I haven’t been around comic stores enough in the last year to have heard any of it. Not to ruin the surprise or anything, but let me go ahead and add my voice to that list. If you have any questions at all about this book after you read it (and I had a few), they are going to be answered in the lengthy afterward from Damon. This, despite its short size, really is a “novella”, as the cover suggests. It’s the story of Damon’s family, primarily dealing with his father’s side. He still gives a wonderfully descriptive family tree of the other side of the family and his reasoning for not dealing with them in so long. It doesn’t seem necessary at first glance, but it really does help in the big picture. It’s mostly, as he says in the afterward, a love letter to his favorite uncle, and the opportunity to tell the highlights of Jeff’s life through Damon’s eyes. The minutiae of family life are all on display here, good and bad, with no apologies given and none necessary. Jeff is Damon’s favorite uncle because he’s always managed to stay free. He may be broke, but Jeff understood at an early age that freedom was much more important than material goods, and it’s a lesson that Damon has taken to heart. This is a moving, honest story about a man who has to reconcile his freedom with the need to care for his ailing father, even though that’s only a tiny part of the story, if that makes any sense. It was also nominated for an Eisner, although I don’t know if it won. $3.95, check out the website or just send Damon an e-mail.