Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The New Deal by Jonathan Case

There are more than eight billion people in the world, so it shouldn't surprise me that I lose track of some of them now and then. Still, you tend to assume that if you've seen Artistic Work X by somebody and really liked it, you'd remember that guy's name and keep track of him.

Apparently not, though. Jonathan Case had a great debut graphic novel in Dear Creature, a wonderfully oddball mashup of Creature of the Black Lagoon and Shakespeare (see my review in an old round-up) back in 2011, and I promptly let his name fall out of my head.

Flashforward five years, and I hear about a new graphic novel called The New Deal, a caper story set in a NYC hotel during the Depression. It gets good reviews, and sounds like a smart, interesting thing. By somebody named Jonathan Case -- and that name does not ring a bell, sadly.

(This may be the curse of the WASP; I have one of those Standard American Guy names as well, and I bet that I am not as memorable to other people as I think I should be.)

So I found and read The New Deal, which is indeed a fun caper story set in a NYC hotel during the Depression, and which I won't tell you much about since the point of a caper story is to see things unfold as they happen. And, reading it, I happened to see Dear Creature listed as a previous work by the author, and finally connected some very obvious dots.

There are two lessons here. First is that this book (The New Deal, remember, by Jonathan Case, available right now in an attractive album-sized hardcover from your friends at Dark Horse) is good and you should read it. Even if you don't know who Jonathan Case is. Hell, even if you don't know who I am -- take the word of this random Internet stranger!

The second lesson is that we live in a world saturated with media, and it's left to each of us to curate it for ourselves. We have more tools than ever for doing that -- feeds and social media and email newsletters and online recommendation engines and just watching the TV news network that most closely fits our prejudices -- but it does mean we have to do it, or else we'll get just what other people think is important. And people are different enough that no one else's idea of what's important will exactly match yours: so don't rely on serendipity.

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