Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened (Villard)

postcardsheaderVignettes of histories that never were, this new anthology reveals the mystery lives behind one-paragraph postcards.

 

 

208 Pages B&W; $21.95

(W/A: Various, Edited by: Jason Rodriguez)

 

Vignettes of histories that never were — the mystery lives behind one-paragraph postcards — are the subject of Jason Rodriguez's anthology Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened. This Harvey Award-nominated editor has assembled fifteen of comics' current and up-and-coming stars for a heartbreaking look at love, loss, and betrayal with space for hope that is not always filled. Readers will recognize Harvey Award-nominees Joshua Hale Fialkov (Elk's Run) and A. David Lewis (The Lone and Level Sands), as well as Eisner Award-nominees Tom Beland (True Story Swear To God), Robert Tinnell (The Black Forest), and St. Louisan Matt Kindt (Top Shelf's upcoming Super Spy) along with American Splendor writer Harvey Pekar as some of the many contributors who anchor this anthology.

 

The cover to Postcards. Click thumbnail for a larger image.Postcards begins bittersweetly with a son visiting his father in New Jersey. Memories surface in the form of Lucy the elephant, a childhood landmark for the two and a link for illustrator Gia-Bao Tran to illuminate the touching bonds between family members' shared pasts. Rodriguez wastes no time arranging stories of unrequited love first, peppering them with tales of swindlers, murderers, and epidemics. A far cry from his work on Marvel's Irredeemable Ant-Man, Phillip Hester's "Eastertide" is perhaps one of the most moving tales in the somber anthology. After the suicide of his mother, a twelve-year-old boy encounters a strange woman who suffers from Tourette's Syndrome. The woman has nothing but love for a world that finds her unfit for marriage, and after his father's gesture of marriage, the woman becomes the boy's stepmother. Not long after, the boy's father dies from influenza, and the two are left alone. Years pass and wars come and go, and the boy finds himself a man who can no longer stomach work with the living. In the morgue, he stands over the body of a woman who has shaved her pubic hair into a heart. Hester transforms what could've easily been a tacky scene into a beautiful symbol: the gift of oneself to another.

 

Unfortunately, few of the Postcard tales are so complete. While none of them are without their gut-punch qualities, readers may wonder if the writers are coasting on sentimentality. Even so, these tales are no less enjoyable. Rodriguez clearly took care in the writers he chose, and it shows in each scene of every story. Breathing life into lies is the art of the writer, but when these lies have a solid past, something to make them more real than the real of feeling, then there is even more burden. Yet all of these writers have met that challenge. In the crafting of stories that are every bit as believable as they are not, this group has created an experience that matches any found in an antique store. | James Nokes

 

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