Eric Drooker's comics are very beautiful in a way that nearly overwhelms all other virtues. The politically active New York cartoonist and illustrator, perhaps best known for a handsome collaboration with Allen Ginsberg and appearances in the New Yorker, works with a form of pictorial expression that enjoyed its greatest moments of currency in the social criticism woodcut novels of the 1920s and 1930s.
Artists like Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel took after the inhumane rush of modern progress with evocative picture making that indicted various resulting cruelties. Drooker works similar territory with a book that derives its vibrancy from the energy of its characters and its muted, pretty tones just as much as the design sense he shares with the woodcut crowd. The best pages squeeze in moments of full color that represent dramatic high points, a technique for every storyteller's toolbox.
Drooker may tell a simple story that goes no further than forging a connection between exploitation and abuse in the Third World with injustices to be found on city streets. But he tells it very well, and with a visual acuity that yields moments of near-brilliance.
Tom Spurgeon is a writer living in Silver City, New Mexico. He can be found online at The Comics Reporter.