It's 1932, the height of the Depression, in Marian, Calif. The
Bloch family is teetering on the brink of dissolution. Mr. Bloch,
widowed and alcoholic, can't or won't find work. Teenage son Albert
has lost respect for him and 12-year-old Freddie, mesmerized by
Hollywood movies, is too young to comprehend the social forces
that are rending the fabric of his life. After the father disappears
and Albert is injured trying to steal money for food, Freddie,
suddenly alone, heads for his father's last known address in Detroit.
He's befriended by Sammy (who calls himself "the King of
Spain"), a troubled and sickly vagabond who teaches him how
to survive as a hobo, coping with hunger and the danger of riding
the freight trains. The two develop a deeply felt attachment as
they travel together, braving labor riots and anti-Semitism. Advancing
classic themes, Vance's Harvey Award-winning story of a young
man forced to become an adult is touching. Burr's black-and-white
drawings are crisply rendered and abound in historical details.
This collaboration by two newcomers is an outstanding example
of mature comic book storytelling.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text
refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA-- The story a young man's adventures and coming of age during the
Great Depression. Freddie Bloch, alone at 13, rides the rails across
the country in search of his father. Along the way, he encounters
the best and worst mankind has to offer. Freddie sees an anguished
nation divided, the haves against the have-nots. He and his hobo friend,
the so-called King of Spain, try to get along in a country in which
many citizens have lost their human decency in a struggle for survival.
Although the two survive violent attacks by crazed bums, brutal police,
and ignorant townspeople, they maintain hope because of the kindnesses
shown to them by a few citizens. YAs will be captivated by the unique
format of this graphic novel. Vance's story, coupled with Burr's haunting
black-and-white illustrations, gives a frightening picture of what
happens to ordinary people in a nation gone mad.
- Phillip Clark, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers
to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Andrew Arnold for Time Comix
One of the medium's lost treasures�a graphic novel in the truest sense,
creating a fictional world with strong characters.
|Ron Evry, The Comics Journal's,
Best Comics of All Time
|Art Spiegelman, author of Maus
Wonderful, earnest storytelling�a book made by intelligent, caring
|Max Allan Collins, writer of Road
The best case yet that a mainstream novel can be told in comics form.
One of the most moving and compelling human stories to emerge out
of the graphic story medium.