The Boxer by Reinhard Kleist is an excellent comic that came out last year, yet it didn't seem to get much buzz. I don't know how one quantifies buzz, but looking at Amazon, The Boxer has three reviews. Andre the Giant by Box Brown has seventy-nine. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll has seventy-three. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki has fifty-five. I chose these books because they all came out last year.
And I can't help asking why those books were big, while The Boxer wasn't (at least in the U.S.)(it's won all kinds of awards in Europe).
And there are ton of possible reasons: web presence, luck, promotion, hustle on the part of the creator, connections, subject matter, etcetera, and etcetera.
But I think one reason might be that The Boxer's not particularly timely. There's nothing about this book that says, "This is comics now." The story and the art could have been written any time in the last thirty years. Kleist's artwork reminds me a lot of Will Eisner. His panels are a little more rigid, but his line work and his characters, though never as cartoony as Eisner, have a very similar quality. It looks a lot like A Contract with God, which came out in 1978.
This doesn't matter to me, but I feel like it does have an effect.
And I also think this is true with the story to some extent as well. A book like Andre the Giant touches on things that I remember. It hits that nostalgia button, while The Boxer takes place before my time. It's a story of my grandparent's generation, and there is less of direct connection.
Deep down I hope these things don't really. I hope this is just me being silly and overthinking it, but I worry.
Anyway, it's a great book, one of the most satisfying I've read in a while.
I love the brush dot heads in the rows of prisoners. It's so simple, yet so effective. There's such confidence in the artwork. It's art magic.