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Local by Brian Wood


by Brian Wood, Ryan Kelly (Illustrator), Ryan Kelly (Illustrator)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
What a charming graphic novel! Megan McKeenan sets out from Portland, Oregon with nothing but her knapsack and her wits. She travels to twelve different cities over the next twelve years or so, trying to find herself and make her way. Tragedy and terror both find her, but so also do friendship and a sense of her place in the world. The art is magnificent, especially the vividly and accurately drawn locations including Portland, Austin, Chicago, Ontario, Brooklyn.... A worthwhile evening's investment. ( )
  EBT1002 | Feb 23, 2017 |
This book was just okay for me. I read this book because it was on an NPR list of the best illustrated novels of 2008. Having had only good experiences with the other illustrated novels I read, I was really excited going into it. I just never felt that instant attachment to the characters that I have felt with the few other graphic novels I read. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Told in vignettes, I was initially more interested to see if any of my cities would pop up (two!). The story follows a girl, Megan, who finds herself wandering from city to city, trying to find her home.

The artwork is strongest in the backgrounds and details, making it overall pleasant to look at, but the true strength is in the story. It doesn't over-explain, allowing you to guess at the motivations of the main character without fully explaining why. There's a sense of disconnect that is wonderfully conveyed throughout - a sense of searching for a home, and human contact.

The first few stories didn't seem to really connect, but eventually they met at the end for a very satisfying conclusion. ( )
  kittyjay | Jul 11, 2013 |
Liked, didn't love. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |

Imagine your life broken into short stories. One story each year, starting when you're 18 for the twelve years until you turn 30.

Would you like the story? Could you trace uninterrupted growth, or would you find yourself backsliding into the old habits and same mistakes year after year?

These questions are woven throughout Local, written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Ryan Kelly. Intricate, lush and compelling, Local follows Megan McKeenan as she runs away from home and never stops running: each year brings her to a new city, a new set of struggles, the same old worries and fears.

This is my favorite kind of graphic novel: no superheroes, no doomsday devices, no trick endings. Wood and Kelly set out to depict life, and it is intricate and gorgeous and dirty.

Local makes a fairly easy read from a visual standpoint; the frames tend to feature clear middle to close shots of the characters in action. Unlike a Chris Ware, we're never left twisting the book around to figure out what we're seeing, and unlike an R. Crumb, the characters are photo-realistic, never twisting into the caricature of human that conveys more emotion.

As narrative, it takes a few stories to become engrossed in the plot. I feel, though, that this is true of most short stories, which might explain why I think of Local as a collection of short stories, rather than as a single novel. Although Megan is a central character in each episode, she is often peripheral to the actual dramatic tension. Much like Wineburg, Ohio or The Imperfectionists, each chapter is complete while a larger story unfolds around them. It's an interesting approach to writing and book, and one that could have backfired on Wood and Kelly. Kudos for pulling it off.

This was my third or fourth reading of Local, but the first time I've picked it up in a year or more, and I was (again) surprised by how much I had missed or forgotten. I was surprised by how engaged I was in watching Megan grow up; in past readings, I focused on the men in the stories (many and deeply flawed) or on the glamor and grit of each new city. This time was the first time that Megan kept pulling me deeper into the story. For most of her life, she is not someone I admire, and I'm not sure, even at thirty, that she is a person I could understand or like. But, having watched her grow, she's someone I empathize with because she's someone I recognize.

It's a must read if you love graphic novels, but are ready to move beyond the books they make into movies. ( )
  jscape2000 | Jul 20, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Woodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kelly, RyanIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Kelly, RyanIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 193496400X, Hardcover)

From Brian Wood (Demo, DMZ, Northlanders) and Ryan Kelly (Lucifer, American Virgin) comes Local, a collection of twelve interconnected short stories. Crossing genres as it crosses the country, Local examines Megan McKeenan, a young woman who sets off from Portland, OR with nothing but a backpack and a bad case of wanderlust. Each emotional vignette is a self-contained story that represents one year in the life of this young vagabond as she struggles to find a place to call home, both physically and spiritually. Set in twelve real life cities across North America, this deluxe hardcover edition collects for the first time the entire critically acclaimed series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:56 -0400)

"From Brian Wood (Demo, DMZ, Northlanders) and Ryan Kelly (Lucifer, American Virgin, The New York Four) comes Local, a collection of twelve interconnected short stories, each featuring Megan McKeenan, a young woman who sets out from Portland, Oregon with nothing but a rucksack and a bad case of wanderlust. These emotional vignettes each represent a year in the life of this young vagabond as she searches for a place to call home, both physically and spiritually. Set in twelve real life cities across North America, this painstakingly researched and meticulously illustrated volume collects for the first time the critically acclaimed series that writer Brian K. Vaughan (Lost, Runaways, Y: The Last Man) called 'the sharpest slices of life the medium has ever seen'"--Publisher's web site.… (more)

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