Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pitch Black by Youme Landowne and Anthony Horton

My library finally received a copy of this graphic novel. I have been a fan of Youme's since her picture book, Selaví, was a Texas Bluebonnet Nominee and have been waiting for this book since I heard about it last year.

Pitch Black, a slender & short graphic novel, tells the true story of how Youme (an artist & author) met Anthony (an artist who lives in the NYC subway). The artwork is beautifully rendered in black watercolor which highlights the underground setting as gritty and dark, but also bright. Anthony writes about how he came to be living in the subway and Youme provides the illustrations.

The first page opens with a white box in an all black page with the black lettering "Just cause you can't see don't mean aint nothing there." It perfectly sets the tone for this story of seeing the invisible - and in the case of this book - that's Anthony. Uneducated and unwanted as a child, Anthony winds up in a shelter, which he describes as "Hell" and "I saw things no kid should ever see." These pages show drug abuse, sex solicitation, and other despairs of homelessness. Anthony flees to the subway and then while running from police discovers that others live in the dark passages of the subway tunnels. Anthony describes how he learned to survive there (selling things he found in the trash, waiting for rainy days before moving in to make sure your spot won't leak) and the people (and 1 dog) who came to his aid. This is an excellent addition to nonfiction graphic novels and teen collections.

Pitch Black by Youme Landowne and Anthony Horton
Cinco Puntos Press, 2008
library copy


Jenn H. said...

Wow, you just got it. I ordered that months ago! I wonder why it took so long to get there....

Well, glad to see that it was as good as I had heard. I'll have to check it out.

Patti said...

I remember hearing about this - it sounds awesome. I'll have to pick it up.

youme said...

Thank you for writing about the work! Every reader is precious, this book is so very different from Selavi. Currently working on a full color picture book with Cinco Puntos about a friend from Southeast Asia. I am very grateful to hear readers thoughts. Feel free to get in touch! Best wishes, youme

joanna said...

Jenn-it may have come in the system earlier. It's not at my location. I had looked for it at one time and it wasn't in yet. Youme - thanks for stopping by! I'm looking forward to your next book.

Carol said...

This book is very different it's about the work thanks for this wonderful review and book..
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