The Beginning of the American Fall is a book of comic book journalism about the Occupy Wall Street movement. If you're thinking of Joe Sacco, though, you're going to be disappointed. For the most part, cartoonist Stephanie McMillan forgoes panels for full-page illustrations interspersed among pages of handwritten text, with interludes of typewritten articles. It feels more like a rough sketchbook of random observations than a completed work, but that's probably by design; comics take a long time to produce, and if McMillan went for a more traditional comic format, this book could still be years away from completion. As it is, American Fall is a raw and passionate story of a left-leaning reporter falling in love with a cause. McMillan details many of the meetings, speeches, and discussions she took part in during the beginning of the Occupy movement, and does an excellent job of explaining the various philosophical differences she observes. American Fall isn't an exhaustive account, but it feels like a scrapbook of an important moment in American history, something thoughtful and intimate.
Robert and Aline Crumb could not have more dissimilar illustration styles. Robert's lines are meticulous, consistent and, in their own way, realistic. Aline's style is more savage and untrained. I've always been a fan of the autobiographical comics that the Crumbs make together, just because they're so jarring: Robert draws himself and most of the backgrounds, while Aline sort of floats around inside the panels, ignoring the solid rules of lighting, perspective, and realism that Robert has established in them. It's a visual representation of their marriage: Robert is the conservative, quiet one and Aline is the force of chaos who tornadoes into a room and throws her emotions everywhere. Drawn Together spans thirty years of their relationship, collecting stories where the two cartoonists travel to the Cannes Film Festival, raise a daughter, and putter around their house in France. Aside from a sword fight and a couple sex scenes, the Crumbs mostly talk their way through the book, and you get to eavesdrop on their conversations. It's a delight.