This work inspired a new category for the Bureau. Find it and read it. Yes, it’s a graphic novel, but it’s not about superheroes. It’s not even fiction.
Judd Winick, writer of comics for Oni Press, DC, and Marvel, tells about life with Pedro Zamora, a friend who made the world a better place. Winick is currently writing Outsiders and Green Arrow for DC (having just moved off of Green Lantern), and will be returning to writing duties on Marvel’s Exiles in August.
This graphic novel was nominated for a long list of awards. The list can be read at Judd Winick’s homepage. Amazon.com’s comments claim that it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, but neither the Pulitzer website nor Winick’s site mention this, so I assume that that particular nomination didn’t actually happen.
This is our first biography review. There are a number of interesting biographies and autobiographies of people who have contributed to sci-fi, fantasy, and science, so we’ve decided it may be worthwhile to discuss them here. If you want to see more, let us know.
The world reacts.
The event the world reacted to.
Since this is our first review of this type, I’ll be explaining the categories and what they mean as I go along. If you have any suggestions, please make them.
The first category is uniqueness. In short, does the biography do a good job of telling us why we should care about this person? In this case, we learn to care a lot about Pedro Zamora. People who are familiar with Judd Winick’s other work will know how these events have impacted his writing. Winick never outright states why we should care, nor does he dwell on the impact of this relationship. Instead, he chooses to write a story that makes the reader feel like they were also Pedro’s friend, and we begin to care about the guy in a very natural way. We also learn to care about Judd and what he’s done, but that’s because of a well developed kinship we get with the narrator, and not because he’s telling us to like him. He does an excellent job of simply placing us in this world, and the rest comes naturally. I give it 5 out of 6.
The next category is completeness: Did it answer the questions I had about this person before I started reading it? I came into this based on its great reputation and my high enjoyment of Winick’s Exiles. I was hoping to learn about how Winick broke into the comic field, but I had no idea what else to expect. Winick’s major entries into comics are not discussed (beyond some early success with newspaper strips), but I can see how these events have shaped his writing. Many of the finer, genre-related details are missing, but had I paid attention to the publication date, or had I known what the story was about before hand, I wouldn’t have been expecting them. This talks about a chapter in Winick’s life that took about two years to take place, with most of the action happening within a six month span. It’s got everything you need to know about how Pedro changed lives, but not much else. I give it 4 out of 6.
The next category is storytelling: Was it a FAQ, or an engaging romp through the past? Well, this is a story extremely well told. The shuttle guy sucked me and and the story itself held me there. It reads like the evolution of real people, hinting at the future, and even revealing some surprises in advance, but the reader won’t care. I give it 6 out of 6.
The imagery category is as it is in normal books: How well could you imagine what was going on? Winick went with a graphic novel format, which made picturing the action extremely easy, since actual pictures were provided. I give it 6 out of 6.
The editing category is also as before: Was it coherent and logical? In this case, it very much was. There was an excellent progression through the converging childhoods of these two people, as well as some excellent work in selecting which events to depict in a fairly short volume. I give it 5 out of 6.
The emotional response category is the same as it usually is: were you engaged enough in the work for the creators to manipulate your emotions? Let me put it this way: I estimate that I’ve read over 3000 books, comic books and graphic novels in my lifetime. In all of that, this is the only book that has ever made me cry. Reading this book is like living the life of a person in that house. I give it 6 out of 6.
Overall, this is simply amazing. Buy it at an above link or at some other bookstore of your choice. If you can’t afford to buy it, find it in a library. If your local library doesn’t have it, tell them to get it. It’ll take more than death to prevent Pedro Zamora from changing lives. Find this and read it as soon as is humanly possible. I give it 6 out of 6.
In total, Pedro and Me recieves 38 out of 42.