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Walz, Jason – A Story For Desmond



A Story For Desmond

This one says on the back of the comic that it’s “the (sort of) epilogue to the Eisner-nominated graphic novel ‘Homesick,'” so if you haven’t read that yet, maybe do that. Also kudos to the man on the Eisner nomination, as it was very much deserved. I wrote my review for Homesick three years ago, so some of the details are a little hazy to this sad excuse for a memory of mine, but the heart of it stayed with me, and this is a sweet, perfect little epilogue to that story. And, like the best epilogues, the original story still works fine without it, but this unabashedly sweet story is the perfect capper to Homesick. If you haven’t read that, and are stubbornly avoiding it for reasons only you can understand (seriously, you could borrow a copy from most decent libraries, you cheapskate you), this comic still works just fine on its own. The story here is basically Jason trying to calm his very young son down during a crying fit. Nothing he tries is going any good, until Desmond spots a picture of Jason’s mother on the wall, which inspires Jason to tell his young son a story of what his mother left behind for Desmond and how that will help him get through life, all told in a way to appeal to a very young kid. Like I said, this is an excellent final chapter for the original story, optional though it may be. The only even slight issue I have with it is that the cover makes it seem a lot more grim and dour than it actually is (although the back cover of the toy monkey mitigates that quite a bit). Anyway, parents of young kids especially will enjoy this, but it’s really one of those rare “all ages” book that actually can be enjoyed by people of all ages. $5


Walz, Jason – Homesick




My apologies to the rest of the people out there making graphic novels, but it’s three days into the new year and we already have a winner for best book of the year. Yes, it’s obviously too early to say that, but I’ve rarely seen a book that’s managed to be this perfectly devastating. This is Jason’s first book, which is damned near criminal, and it’s the story both of a lost cosmonaut and Jason’s mother struggling through ten years of various levels of cancer. How could those two things possibly go together? I had the same question early on, and he managed to pull them together in an impressive manner. But that’s getting ahead of the story. Things start off by giving you the impression that this is going to be a happier book, as Jason calls his mother to tell her about his recent engagement. He learns that her cancer is back and it’s all downhill from there. Jason lives far away from his mother and it’s difficult to visit her, but he had problems with seizures as a child and she has always been there to support him and keep him safe. We see his early days and a number of snippets that are exactly the sorts of things that pop into your head when you can see the end coming up, the moments that end up comprising your best memories of a person. The cosmonaut ends up being one of the first people sent up into space, back when they had no way of getting the person back down again. His difficulty in accepting his fate intersects with Jason’s nicely by the end, and if you can read this whole book without shedding a tear then you’re a heartless monster. Anything else I say would either be repeating myself or giving away bits that don’t need to be given away. I recommend a lot of books on this site and no one person could possibly buy them all, but save up those pennies and put together the $16 needed to pick this up. There are precious few books out there with the potential to make you a better human being, and this is on that list. $16