Graphic Novel Review 191/365: Fire: A Spy Graphic Novel

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #GN365 on Twitter.

Hey, all!  No special theme this week, just some cool books that I’ve been waiting to tell you about!

Title: Fire: A Spy Graphic Novel 

Author(s): Brian Michael Bendis

Publisher: Image Comics (2001)

Age Rating: 17+

Originally published in 1994, this Brian Michael Bendis classic was redone and published in 2001 by Image Comics (I hope I got that right).

Either way, what I did get right is that this spy graphic novel, according to the back of the book is “loosely based on events in the American intelligence community during the Reagen [sic] administration.”  It follows the travels of a young man named Ben, with no family, that has been recruited into the C.I.A. as a “clean” spy with no connections to family or any history that would blow his cover as a new covert operative.

This tale of a rookie spy, done in classic noir black and white, is fairly straight-forward in its telling.  But there is one thing that this early Bendis title does that allows this book to stand out from the stream of titles that I have been reviewing: the dialogue, lettering, and word bubbles are fantastically formed and placed.  Take a look at this page:

Bendis has always had a knack for writing dialogue and placing it in the right spots on the page, but it’s still impressive to see his thought process in action.  The smaller word bubbles allow for the reader to not become overwhelmed with the amount of text on the page, and we can hear the natural pauses and hesitations between sentences and banter between characters.

He also does a great job of laying out bunches of informational text on the page:

And these pages trade-off with pages with little to no text, so that balance also helps keep the story moving.

This story is cool.  And it’s not a long read, so I’d suggest checking it out and keeping it on-hand as a prime example of how to lay-out text on a page, for you and/or your students.  I will be bringing this book into my classroom to show my students these examples first hand, but be careful, there is nudity in this book…just a bit, but I always like to warn you about it.

Happy reading!


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