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Memories & Echoes: Remembering World War II
Review by Sean Maher

Story
Memories & Echoes: Remembering World War II

Story
Thomas Mauer, J. Andrew Clark, William Ryan Thomason, Chris Yost, Ben Hooper, Thommy Melanson, Ryan A. Brandt, Steve Zegers, Steven Edwards
 
art
Trinidad Gutierrez, Tom Schloendorn, Enzo Pertile, Scott Wegener, Dorinda Wegener, Freddie E. Williams II, Gary Kelly, Jesse Hansen, Christian S. Aluas, Victor Cabanelas, Michelle Walters, Sean Sutter, Adam Atherton, Mike Williams

Publisher
Ronin Studios
 
Format
Softcover Original Anthology
 
Publish Date
September 2005
 
Cover Price
$5.00
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This being an anthology of independent creators – none of whose work I’d read before – I expected and confirmed a somewhat mixed bag of stories here. Several stories just kinda went by, leaving no real mark, no lasting impression. On the other hand, a few really stood out.

“90 Seconds”, adapted by Thommy Melanson from a true story, was my favorite piece here. The story dances on the cusp of the unbelievable, which makes it really exciting. The main (uh, only) character is charismatic and funny, and the lesson he learns is brilliantly humble considering the insane events of the tale.

Memories and Echoes: August Frost“August Frost” by J. Andrew Clark is a strong stranger-in-a-strange-land sort of soldier story, one that really drives home the helplessness of the foot soldiers in wartime; it’s not just the bullets flying around your own head that can impact your life. Turning around to find the one moment of peace you’d been able to take for yourself has disappeared or, ugh, been blown to smithereens… it’s a powerful concept.

“We Could Be…” by Steven Edwards uses an interesting two-pronged narrative paralleling the soldiers’ experience in WWII and in Iraq. The story itself is a bit flat but the point of it is refreshingly apolitical and really just tries to point out that the reasons for war have little impact on the actual lives of the soldiers – it’s all leaving home, being scared, being jerked around by the higher powers, and so on.

These three were my favorite stories of the collection,; as I said, several of the others made little impact, essentially repeating tales and emotions I’ve seen and read many times elsewhere. “War is horror,” “You can be killed at any moment,” “I just want to get home alive,” that sort of thing.

Art
Memories & Echoes: Interior PageEnzo Pertile’s work on “August Frost” is crisp and clean, in an attractive style that reminds me slightly of Tony Moore. He also draws “90 Seconds” and does a great job with the mood of every page; this fellow is probably the “find” of this collection. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future.

Freddie E. Williams II does some evocative work on “Why He Fought” with excellent grayscaling by Alejandro Martinez. Nice splash pages and action moments here, and the still-of-the-night panels were very sensual and smooth.

Those are my two favorites; the art throughout much of the rest of the book is pretty standard fare, ranging from expressionist indie stylings to more conventional, generic cartooning.

Bonus Features
There are quite a few pin-ups and a pretty interesting introduction by editor (and contributing writer) Thomas Mauer, but the real bonus feature here is the charity angle. For every book that gets sold, $1.00 will be donated to War Child Netherlands, which the back cover describes as “a non-profit organization helping children who have lived through war to cope with their experiences and ensure they healthy mental development.” Pretty cool.
Final Words

I wanted this to be better, sympathetic as I am to the cause this book is printed to support, but though it suffered a bit from “indie anthology” syndrome there were enough strong elements to make it worth my time. Check out the art samples included with this review and take a look at Ronin’s website for the book and if you’re interested, send Mauer an e-mail at to pick up a copy.

Mildly recommended


Sean Maher (email) lives in San Francisco, balancing his love for comics with a full-time job and a full-time course load studying journalism at SFSU. He maintains Sean Maher's Quality Control, a daily blog designed to spread the word of greatness in comics.
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