Tag Archives: Brian K. Vaughan

Graphic Novel (Comic) Review 315/365: Barrier

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

Hey, all! I have some cool things coming your way in May, so make sure that you are checking back every day. I appreciate you for reading.

Today is my birthday and wedding anniversary!  I like to think all of the sales today are for my birthday, so while my wife and I were out to lunch, we stopped into a local comic book store that was having an awesome sale, and I stumbled upon a new BKV title from Image that I did not know existed…

Title: Barrier    

Author(s): Brian K. Vaughn, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente

Publisher: Image Comics (2018)

Age Rating: 17+

The issue I read is part one in a five part series.  I believe it was weekly starting in May, and it is the end of the month, so my next trip to the store will have me purchasing the rest of the issues because it is bonkers cool.

Let me first discuss the “barriers” that are obviously evident in this book.  Barrier number one: the book reads horizontal.  Every page is read to the side, throwing readers for a bit of a loop.  I guess it could be a barrier for some readers, but I love what it does to the construction of panels!  Next, a good amount of the book is in Spanish, so get ready to use your context clues non-Spanish speakers!  But the great thing, as mentioned by BKV in the back matter, is that you don’t need to understand the language to understand what is going on.  I did Google translate a bit, but going through, I didn’t need to; it was more of a curiosity.

The issue focuses on a woman named Liddy that owns a farm in Texas and an immigrant named Oscar from Honduras.  As the issue progresses, their paths get closer and closer to crossing until the strange climax of the issue, begging readers to grab issue number two.

The art and the writing are top notch, but here’s my issue with the issue: at one point, Liddy is in her house watching porn, and we see a very graphic image on her computer screen.  Now, I know that the book is branded “M” for mature, but this issue is so cool and well constructed, I would love to share it with my graphic novel class.

Now I can’t.

Because of one small square of one panel in this issue.  And honestly, I understand how it may be symbolizing Liddy’s loneliness, it’s alluded to that her husband/boyfriend might have died, but we do not need a graphic image right in the middle of the issue.  And if there is no other nudity, and the book continues to be great with a mature lean, and this one little image keeps an amazingly interesting story from hitting my classroom shelf, that’s a huge bummer.

Listen up, creators and publishers…if it’s not truly purposeful…truly purposeful to the story, find another way to work around graphic nudity;  it will put the books into more hands and possibly a few classrooms.  Tired of saying it.  And it’s totally cool if the creators do not want to hear it.  I respect the artistic process, but artists, if you cannot completely justify your graphic nudity, why use it?

I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes.  Maybe I’ll pick up the rest tomorrow and check back in…

Happy reading!


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