Gone to Amerikay

Overview

Ciara O'Dwyer is a young woman raising a daughter alone in the Five Points slums of 1870; Johnny McCormack is a struggling actor drawn to the nascent folk music movement in Greenwich Village 1960; and Lewis Healy is a successful Irishman who's come to present-day Manhattan on his wife's anniversary-present promise to reveal the connection between him and them. The mystery originates with Ciara's runaway husband, who disappeared after promising to join her in America, and carries into midcentury when Johnny, ...
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Overview

Ciara O'Dwyer is a young woman raising a daughter alone in the Five Points slums of 1870; Johnny McCormack is a struggling actor drawn to the nascent folk music movement in Greenwich Village 1960; and Lewis Healy is a successful Irishman who's come to present-day Manhattan on his wife's anniversary-present promise to reveal the connection between him and them. The mystery originates with Ciara's runaway husband, who disappeared after promising to join her in America, and carries into midcentury when Johnny, devastated by an unexpected romance and a lost shot at musical fame, gets a supernatural visitor
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Three intertwined stories in 1870, 1960, and 2010 embrace the U.S. past when three great waves of Irish migrants swelled the American population, as well as its evolving face through the 20th and early 21st centuries. Irish hopeful Ciara O’Dwyer relocates to New York’s notorious slums to await a husband who never arrives; decades later the mystery of what happened to Fintan O’Dwyer remains unsolved until a specter from the past points the way to a resolution. We also meet 1960’s Johnnie McCormack, a roughshod would-be actor who comes to terms with his sexual orientation; and 2010’s euro millionaire Lewis Healy. Despite laws like the Emergency Quota Act and the xenophobic attitudes that drove them, America remains a magnet for hopeful immigrants; Gone to Amerikay focuses on the once-despised Irish, previously seen as barbaric outsiders but now assimilated into the American mainstream. Beautifully illustrated by Doran and Villarrubia, the richly detailed narrative is sometimes undermined by a tepid ghost story and occasional reliance on broad stereotype, but provides some colorful historical yarn spinning. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Ghost story or detective fiction? History or mythology? Drawing on the freewheeling spirit of Irish and Irish-American popular culture, GONE TO AMERIKAY is all of these. A tale that takes place simultaneously in 1870, 1960 and 2010, it recognizes that though enormous changes have taken place over time in the relationship between the New World and the Old Country, some things, like love, justice and respect, are timeless and imperative. With thrilling illustrations, rich with the color and mood of these passions, you will find yourself unable to avoid lingering at length on them before picking up the story again."—Philip Chevron, The Pogues

"GONE TO AMERIKAY s a wonderful story, lushly illustrated, full of music and passion, twists and turns, beautifully evoking the Irish immigrant experience in three different times and sewing them all together brilliantly at the end. A real treat, for those who love New York history, or just a great story."—Kevin Baker, author of PARADISE ALLEY, DREAMLAND, LUNA PARK

"GONE TO AMERIKAY is not just a great book, it's an important book. In a marketplace where every season brings another supposed Big Event, this is the real deal. It uses the immigrant experience to talk about us, who we are, how and why we came here, with some echoes of where we might be going. The art is superb, containing some of the best and most evocative images of the period you're ever going to see, and the story is wide in scope but intimate in its details as it flashes forward and backward in time. Forget the hype, this is going to be THE book of 2012."—J. Michael Straczynski (SUPERMAN:YEAR ONE, BABYLON FIVE, CHANGELING)

Library Journal
Like shamrock leaves, three stories encircle one another in this ghost-tinged mystery yarn about Irish immigrants in New York. In 1870, Clara O'Dwyer reaches "Amerikay" with her young daughter, expecting her husband, Fintan, to follow from Dublin. She finds work as a laundress, but Fintan never appears. In 1960, Johnny McCormack arrives from Galway, aiming for Broadway. Teamed up professionally (and romantically) with his old friend Brian at first, he instead breaks in as a folk singer. In 2010, wealthy entrepreneur Lewis Healy touches down in his private jet to dedicate his New York office and receive a special present from his wife, Sophie: the story behind a song that inspired his success. The song and the missing Fintan link all three stories. VERDICT Showing imperfect people passing a precious legacy amid tragedy, McCullough (Stagger Lee) reveals a fine ear for dialog and doesn't skimp on the harsh realities of immigration and urban life, 1870s or 1960s. The heroic-realist color art of Doran (Mangaman; A Distant Soil) lends sweeping beauty. Recommended for those drawn to historical and literary graphic novels, high school and up owing to sexual situations and salty language.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401223519
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Derek McCulloch, neither Irish nor American, nonetheless grew up listening to Irish music and reading comic books about New York City, little dreaming these unrelated interests would one day form the basis for a book. His first graphic novel, Stagger Lee, was published to some acclaim in 2006 and was nominated for an Eisner Award. His second graphic novel, Pug, was published in 2010. He is currently adapting the works of Damon Runyon for both comics and stage.

Colleen Doran's Irish antecedents named her Colleen, the Irish word for "girl," so there would be no confusion. Colleen Doran is American, therefore her ancestors are from many places. Colleen has written and/or drawn lots of comics and graphic novels like Mangaman, Sandman, A Distant Soil, Wonder Woman and Captain America. She has won a lot of nice prizes, and lectured in a lot of nice places. She also speaks as a creator rights advocate.

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