Berlin: City of Stones

I’m going to talk comics right now, and I hope that’s okay with everyone.

Berlin: City of Stones is the first collection of Jason Lutes’s excellent historic novel, Berlin. Set in Germany during the early rise of the Nazi party, Berlin follows a diverse cast through their lives, as they see and affect and react to the changes about them. Berlin is a human story, an adult story. If there’s a little child in you that’s begging to be spoonfed explosions and hero archetypes and rocket ships and cute robots, you don’t want Berlin. If, however, you like stories in which complex characters live in realistic settings and have emotions and reactions that you recognize in your own life, try Berlin.

Don’t let the “historic” in “historic novel” turn you off. Lutes is telling a story, not teaching a lesson. He’s chosen this backdrop, these people, this time to tell his story, but it doesn’t require advance understanding of the period. Just read.

I’m not the only person who thinks it’s worth your time, either. Check out reviews on Artbomb, the Stranger (a Seattle newsweekly), and Ninth Art; read Time Magazine’s choices for Best Comics of 2000, including Berlin; view sample pages on Amazon; or order directly from the publisher, Drawn and Quarterly.

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