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11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
In Awe of BayouJul 23, 2009
By T. Adlam
I'm in awe of Bayou. In fact, I literally just finished reading it (yes, I stayed up all night) and I'm anxious to find out the rest of Lee's and Bayou's story.
Let me back up a moment and offer a synopsis...
The stage is set in the beginning of this graphic novel--'30s in the south when racism is rife. Lee Wagstaff lives with her father, who she loves dearly and would do anything for (this is readily apparent within the first few pages of the story--I won't say more because it's a spoiler) and he loves her just as much.
Their lives take an unfortunate turn, however, when Lily Westmoreland, a young white girl who was playing with Lee, goes missing and due to a gross misunderstanding, Lee's father is accused and arrested for her kidnapping.
Lee saw exactly what happened to Lily, but no one believes her and with her father about to be strung up to a tree, she takes it upon herself to rescue Lily and save her father. What commences is a ride through fantasy where not everyone (or thing) you meet is sugarplums and gumdrops.
The story reminded me quite a bit of the movie Pan's Labyrinth in it's mixture of fantasy laced with reality's nuances, especially the coupling of a child's need to save someone she loves and desperation to escape from a deplorable station in life--with different creatures and mythos though.
That said, each character was well-rounded and I never sensed any of them were cardboard cut-outs. Each one had a distinct personality and faults, which made them sympathetic, especially Lee and Bayou.
The artwork is phenomenal. There's not much more that I can say about it. The lines, the colors, the layout, it all just works--and works well.
If you're squeamish about race-relations, especially in the early portions of the twentieth century, then you may not make it through because it takes no prisoners and calls it like it is (basically, it does an excellent job of creating the scene and setting the mood). But it would be a shame because hands down, this is one of the best graphic novels I've read to date.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Bayou is Mesmerizing From Start to FinishNov 23, 2009
The bayou is a dark and frightening place. A little girl named Lee, living in Mississippi in 1933, discovers that firsthand when she dives into its murky depths to recover the body of a friend. Underwater, she finds the body, but she sees something more, a person...or maybe an evil spirit. It's hard to tell, and she has no interest in finding out. There's plenty of evil for her to deal with in the real world already.
Lee lives with her father, a sharecropper, on the Westmoreland estate. The body Lee has found at the bottom of the bayou belonged to a young black man who dared to whistle at a white woman. Lee knows as well as anyone the cold, stark reality of the world she lives in, even if she questions it persistently. When she asks her father why he doesn't fight back against the horrible brutality of the white townspeople, he explains his understanding of not only his time but of times to come. The time to fight back hasn't dawned yet. But it will. And he needs Lee strong enough to make it to that fight.
Bayou began as a webcomic under DC's Zuma imprint and is now being published in paperback form, hopefully where it will reach an even wider audience. Deserving of all the praise and awards its received, Jeremy Love's magical story is a pitch-perfect tale of hope amid oppression. With a nod to Alice in Wonderland and To Kill a Mockingbird both, Bayou takes Lee down the rabbit hole into a world that might be more dangerous than the one she comes from, and into a battle that she has no idea she's joined.
She gets drawn into it when her young friend, the daughter of the owner of the estate Lee lives on, goes missing in the bayou. Lee knows exactly what happened, exactly which monster swallowed her whole. But the white people in town are only interested in accusing Lee's father, convicting him without a trial and demanding blood. To save her father and prove his innocence, Lee will have to go into the bayou herself.
Bayou is beautifully crafted. Love's ear for dialogue is wondrous to read; his sense of historical perspective deft and subtle. As the story unfolds, we meet more and more of Lee's extended family (her late mother is alluded to only briefly), and each one is a delightfully fully fleshed out character.
Bayou is mesmerizing from start to finish.
-- John Hogan
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Unexpected FindJun 10, 2009
By E. Ruch
I bought Love's webcomic compilation BAYOU on a lark -- and found it to be exceptional. A young child's adventure - with magic-realist elements - taking place in the sharecropping South of the early 20th Century. Love tells a compelling story - albeit with some one-note characterizations of the supporting cast - filled with memorable imagery and nice hooks. I heartily recommend it as a break from traditional masked adventure comics.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
The Fine Art of "BAYOU"Jun 18, 2009
By G. Love
The back cover quotes a central character saying, "The bayou is a bad place", but BAYOU is a beautiful book with an intriguing fantasy storyline. I picked this book up after a quick flip through and a look at the art. The art in this book was the main draw for me. Each page is a work of fine art!
I did not know a thing about the story when I purchased the book and half way through I felt that the story alone was worth the purchase. I am eagerly awaiting Volume Two.
5 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Poor Print QualityJan 27, 2010
By J. Miller
I loved Bayou and after seeing it online, I rushed out to Amazon to purchase the book. I found myself disappointed. The book is printed on cheap paper, and the wonderful colors are muddy and brown. This makes me wary of picking up volume two. I hope betweentimes they'll improve the color and paper quality: Bayou deserves it. I haven't had this issue with other comics, such as Lackadaisy Cats or Gunnerkrig Court: these books appeared beautiful. Not so with Bayou, which is a shame.
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