Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Revue October 25th: Brave Resistance

Hang On To Your Helmets

Brave Resistance Is Going To Be A Bumpy Ride!

World War 2. Bombers and bombshells and nazis. Yeah yeah, heard it all before....but have we?
As Americans, we get a very one sided and narrow view of the war; good guys and bad guys, fighting the good fight. We still share an emotional concept of it as the last 'honorable war'.
But we forget that it was a world war. And 'Brave Resistance' makes us remember. The creation of Grecian Tantz Aerine and American Diedre Rae Crouch, 'Brave Resistance' can be found here. Set in a tiny Greek village, this is the story from the Greek perspective: a more stoic, pragmatic approach of a people who didn't go 'over there' because the war was all around them, sweeping over their homeland. Death or glory didn't come into it. In Greece, this was a desperate fight for the soul of their nation.
The story focuses around Hunter, an American pilot downed over Greece, the village who protects him and the soldiers who hunt him. It is an intimate vignette of a tale, and the gut wrenching terror and the algebra of survival are all the more powerful for being compressed into a small space.

The Rating

a complex, understated and fascinating look at a war we thought we knew

The Raves

Some of the most adroit examples of emotional interplay I've ever seen in a comic show up in 'Brave Resistance'. In this comic, the psychology of threat, guilt, honor and the wartime mentality are deeply plumbed, creating a powerful tension both inter-character and between characters and their environment. War isn't honorable, and 'Brave Resistance' doesn't try to trick us into thinking it is. But people have honor, and that we're shown time and time again in subtle ways that stay with you long after the page is off your browser.
There's a lot of reliance on facial expression and body language to manage this feat, and 'Brave Resistance' pulls it off wonderfully, displaying at least a quarter of its storytelling in scenic rather than expository ways. The color palette paints a tired, gaunt world and the art style lends a gritty roughness to the work in keeping with a life lived day by day, a life and a world on a knife's edge. This comic may feel so real because of the depth of research that has gone into it. And when I say deep, I mean deep. There are unobtrusive tabs on the page for cultural facts, historical information, and no end of beautifully done touches that put you there and then in the artwork itself. This creators really did their homework! Even their sites were well researched.  Let me quote the author's notation of a page here: 'The church is based on an actual one in one of the villages from which this village is inspired. It’s supposed to be great in size, at the very center of the square of the village and behind it is the cemetery. The church in those types of villages is the centre of social life and also stands in for other functions if necessary such as school, gatherings and large meetings.

The church it’s based off is St. George in Negades, at Zagori in Epirus.'
Now that, dear readers, is some serious devotion to your craft!
Speaking of devotion, 'Brave Resistance' has a strong point in its devotion to honest emotional interplay between its characters. Cynical sometimes, sometimes harsh, but always genuine. There's very little of the war-movie band of brothers bravado here, but there is the quiet camaraderie of people against great odds. And the creators point out deftly that not everybody was 'on the good side' even if they were allies. Most people in the villages just wanted EVERYBODY to leave them ALONE already, and this is nicely explored in the attitudes displayed throughout the comic. The annoyed wariness with which the American pilot is treated is refreshing; it's nice to see Americans portrayed as something other than the beloved saviors in work related to World War 2 for a change. The chance to explore real emotions in a wartime setting is a novel and interesting take.

The Razzes

I only wish that novel, complex exploration had extended to the Nazi soldiers as well. With one or two notable exceptions, they're your classic Indiana Jones Nazis: either handsome, brainless automatons or slavering (in one case quite literally slavering) evil beasts. Honestly, when I see this

is 'Whoa, man, you over did the ugly! Dial it back!' These were people. Some of them were good and some of them were evil, but they were people. Don't make them Hollywood monsters.

I'd also like to see the color style improved. The gritty line work is great. Seeing brushstrokes is fine, but not when they give an untidy, unfinished impression and remov much of the contrast on darker surfaces. A cleaner, more nuanced color palette would really help give the work a professional appearance. As a last, tiny detail, if I were the creator I'd do a little spell checking. English is a HARD language to spell as someone not native to it, but it really helps give a professional look to the work. (that being said, the creators' grasps of my language is better than some of my countrymen, so that's only a very small complaint!)

The Revue

Reminiscent of MASH 4077 and pulling no emotional punches, 'Brave Resistance' puts on a brave and powerful showing.

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