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Blue

by Pat Grant

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513398,016 (3.64)None
Blue is the debut graphic novel of Australian cartoonist Pat Grant. Part autobiography, part science fiction, Blue is the story of three spotty teenagers who skip school to go surfing, only to end up investigating rumors of a dead body in their beach town. At a deeper level, it is an exploration into Australia's acceptance and resentment at migrant culture, territorialism and casual racism through the eyes of these three adolescents in a partly fictional town named Bolton. --paraphrased from Amazon.com.… (more)
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This is a bit different from the other comics I've read lately, and it was a welcome departure. It was good to read a book set in a rural town with economic struggles, facing some issues similar to places I've called home. The art style was also an appreciated departure. I am glad the author decided to add his own history of surf comics at the end of the book. It was an interesting read. ( )
  EllsbethB | Mar 2, 2016 |
This is a review of the web version of the book, which can be found at: http://www.boltonblue.com/

"Blue" tells the story of three kids who skip school to go surfing, and how they experience the slow infiltration of a race of blue aliens in their small town of Bolton.

I don't do well with books where the main characters are not likeable, and Grant purposely paints them as such in "Blue" to make an allegory about people's rejection of (alien) immigration. ( )
  jasonli | Feb 11, 2014 |
One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed discovering in the last few years is graphic novels and comics from other countries. While I always knew they existed, it seems like they were often difficult to get ahold of or you had to read them in their native languages, which is not my strong suit. Thankfully in the last few years the internet (and certain publishers) have broadened the reach of artists and storytellers from other countries to allow us to see the variety and different types of works being created around the world. And Australian Pat Grant may just be my new favorite. I had a chance to meet him and a caravan of other Australian artists at TCAF last month and I was blown away by the different types of visual imagery and storytelling than what I’m familiar with. And Pat’s work Blue was one of my favorites. The story is a unique blend of autobiographical, fiction, and sci-fi all whirled into one. Set in the summer of a few years or so ago, in a seaside Australian town struggling to deal with an invasion of alien refugees.

The story is a densely packed and thought provoking exploration into Australia’s resentment at migrant culture and casual racism through the eyes of three misbegotten youth. Pat bases the work upon aspects of his own history and life, sharing with readers what life is like growing up in a different culture and how similar it is to our own, even with a vastly different language. And the exploration of racism is unique, not because Pat explores it, but because of how he goes about it. By presenting the other cultures as alien life forms (literally they have tentacles) it forces the reader to look at the issue in a different way than if it was just another human. The treatment, the things that the character say and do, their reaction to death of one of these aliens causes the reader to look deep within themselves at how they act in their own world. It’s thought provoking and powerful.

I love Pat’s visual style. It reminds me of cartoons from the 30’s and 40’s with the wavy arms and the way the characters move on the page, almost like they are rubber just bouncing up and down. And yet it is also deeply set within the visual imagery of Australia, especially the way the aliens draw and leave symbols upon the walls and pages of the book. It reminds me of some of the types of lines that I’ve seen in Aboriginal art, not that this is what Pat is making reference to, but it pulls me in to the story more because of it and what little I know of Australian history.

I think my favorite aspect of this book though is the essay at the back. Grant talks extensively not only about his inspiration for the book (and art in general), but something about the history of graphic and comic art in Australia. He tells us how Australia has so little in the way of history of comic art and how this lack of history creates a positive and negative impact, not only in how own work but the work of others. It’s engaging and informative read and a great bonus to the book. In fact I wouldn’t mind reading more essays by Pat as he has some great insights that I think could be interesting.

This is probably one of the most difficult reviews I’ve written. Not because I didn’t enjoy the book, but because even a month later I’m still pondering everything that I read. Which is the greatest reason I can recommend it. Its a thought provoking book and I really enjoyed it. So if you’re looking for something a bit different or just want to expand your tastes to something from outside the US pick up this book and give it a read. You won’t be disappointed. 5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  zzshupinga | Jun 30, 2012 |
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Blue is the debut graphic novel of Australian cartoonist Pat Grant. Part autobiography, part science fiction, Blue is the story of three spotty teenagers who skip school to go surfing, only to end up investigating rumors of a dead body in their beach town. At a deeper level, it is an exploration into Australia's acceptance and resentment at migrant culture, territorialism and casual racism through the eyes of these three adolescents in a partly fictional town named Bolton. --paraphrased from Amazon.com.

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Book description
Graphic novel that's painted in blue & brown, about surfing, immigration, racism, localism, and being a teenager in Australia. Includes the author's essay, "Genealogy of the boofhead: images, memory and Australian surf comics"

Also available for free, online: http://www.boltonblue.com/

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under "a weird Creative Commons License", www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
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