I am a huge, huge Brian Fies fan.
His graphic novel Mom's Cancer is not only one of my favorite graphic novels, it is one of my favorite memoirs, and favorite books, full-stop. It was his take on his mother's battle with both lung and brain cancer, and a family story of how he and his siblings dealt with her illness. It was, of course, horribly sad, but it was also fantastic. The rare graphic novel that I loved without reservations, and in which the art and the text were easy to integrate, and which complemented each other.
So I was very, very excited to see that he had a new graphic novel out, titled Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? This one starts at the New York World's Fair of 1939, and charts the course of scientific and future discoveries and aspirations in different decades, including 1945, 1955, 1965, and 1975.
I did read the whole thing, but it turned out to be not for me.
This is no reflection on the quality of the work, which is once again very, very high. I love Fies's clean drawings, simple text, and how easy it is to integrate the two while reading. However, I have never been enthralled with science and progress* OR comics, which are two things that clearly had a big effect on Fies; in fact, this book is like an extended love letter to both. In fact, in between the chapters, Fies has inserted what appear to be classic comic books, titled "Space Age Adventures" and printed on what appears to be pulpy comic/newsprint pages. Unfortunately, the beauty of much of his work is lost on me, as I am not and never was a comic reader. (I am such a person of inaction that most action/adventure stories, which is what a lot of comics are, completely bore me.)
I was also a bit confused by the characters in the story, as Fies uses the same father/son pair in each decade, without the kid growing up for several of the first decades, which I found disconcerting. (He explains this in a foreword, commenting on the wonder of "comics time" which allows characters never to age or change.) Anyone else have this problem?
Still and all, though, Brian Fies is a super-talent. Immediately upon finishing this book I went and re-read my copy of Mom's Cancer, and appreciated him all over again. Give this one a try if you're interested in science or comics; I don't think you'll be disappointed.
*I am in fact usually quite cranky about both science and progress, although I am a fan of indoor plumbing.