Earthling

Earthling

by Aisha Franz, Helge Dascher
     
 

A finely wrought account of aliens and alienation in the suburb

The German cartoonist Aisha Franz's debut graphic novel details a few short days in the life of two sisters and their single mother. Set in a soulless suburb populated by block after block of identical row houses bordered by empty fields and an industrial no-man's-land, Earthling

Overview

A finely wrought account of aliens and alienation in the suburb

The German cartoonist Aisha Franz's debut graphic novel details a few short days in the life of two sisters and their single mother. Set in a soulless suburb populated by block after block of identical row houses bordered by empty fields and an industrial no-man's-land, Earthling explores the loneliness of everyday life through these women's struggle to come to terms with what the world expects of them.
Earthling unveils a narrative rich with surrealist twists and turns, where the peas on the dinner plate and the ads on television can both literally and figuratively speak to the most private strife and deepest hopes in a person's life. As the sisters begin to come to terms with their sexuality, they are confronted by harsh realities and a world that has few escape routes for young women.
Drawn in deep gray pencil, the claustrophobia of Franz's crosshatching and smudging matches the tone of the book perfectly. Earthling is an atmospheric and haunting account of the inevitability of losing the dream worlds of childhood.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
07/28/2014
It's easy to underestimate Franz's first graphic novel. The German cartoonist's art is simple, even by the standards of alternative-comics minimalism. While there are a few single large panels for effect, the majority of the pages are 12-panel grids made up of perfect square boxes with none of the customary negative space between them. The artwork matches the bare-bones layout, drawn in soft pencil like a rough draft ripped out of a notebook. The story at first seems to be a latter-day E.T. knockoff, as a little girl befriends an aloof extraterrestrial after following a drifting balloon to field of tall grass. Franz consistently manages to shake predictability however, through a series of strange and surreal turns, some easily written off as dream sequences and others left a bit more open. The saga of the alien is entwined with the story of a mother and her two daughters, all of whom grapple with very different but largely universal crises: regret, burgeoning sexuality, and teenage rebellion, respectively. The book's bare-bones layout begins to mirror the world they find themselves trapped in. This is a quiet book, but one with a lot to say. Despite its simplicity, it warrants deep and repeated readings. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“[Earthling is] a coming-of-age story that shimmers between the alien and the familiar, between feeling at home with those around you, and feeling hopelessly estranged . . . Franz crowds her pages full of panels, to convey what constrained lives these characters lead, and her drawings--all sketched out in pencil--look fittingly tentative, fragile, and easily effaced.” —Globe & Mail

“[Earthling is] full of dark humour, sex and hilarious snippets of perilous teenage life that you'll be glad are far, far behind you . . . Anyone you know who's into the witty, sarcastic humour of Daniel Clowes' Ghost World definitely needs to get their hands on this.” —It's Nice That

“This is a quiet book, but one with a lot to say . . . It warrants deep and repeated readings.” —Publishers Weekly

“The softness of Franz's pencil drawings telegraphs the quiet of these spaces, and her approach to moment-to-moment storytelling communicates some of the joy of movement . . . The overall feeling of melancholy this combination evokes is felt perfectly [in Earthling].” —Bookslut

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770461666
Publisher:
Drawn & Quarterly
Publication date:
11/04/2014
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,386,242
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author


Aisha Franz was born in Fürth, Germany, and was named after an elephant on TV. She studied illustration at the School of Art and Design in Kassel and since graduating has worked as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist. She has published two graphic novels, which have been translated into Italian and French. Her work has been exhibited in Germany, Belgium, and Italy. She currently lives in Berlin, where she's part of the comics collective the Treasure Fleet.

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