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Oil and Waterby Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler
Synopses & Reviews
When ten Oregonians travel to the Gulf Coast in August 2010 to plumb the devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon spill, they discover that "Oil and Water" is just the first of the insoluble contradictions. Between the tarred sands of Grand Isle and the fouled waters of the Louisiana bayou, they come to find out that Gulf Coast residents are economically dependent upon the very industry that is wreaking havoc on their environment. In the shadow of the greatest ecological disaster of our time, they are forced to reassess their roles as witness, critic and environmental steward.
In this 120-page graphic novel — written by Steve Duin, a columnist for The Oregonian, and illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler — readers will tour the shark-pocked beach at Grand Isle with the local head of Homeland Security; step aboard the crabbing boat of a 20-year-old Mississippian who works 16-hour days and spends his nights dreaming of M.I.T.; enter the "Hot Zone" where volunteers work desperately to save brown pelicans drenched in British petroleum; and hear shrimpers, Vietnamese and good ol' boys alike, describe what happens to their livelihood when 200 million gallons of oil flood the scene. The readers' perspective on what hope and what mission remains along a ravaged coastline, and one awash in both seafood and oil, will be changed as irrevocably as that of these ten Oregonians.
"A newspaper columnist for the Oregonian and the cartoonist best known for Too Much Coffee Man visited Louisiana in August 2010 to view the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Their resulting journallike comics are based on the mixed feelings the inhabitants have toward the oil business (responsible for keeping many of them in food and housing) and the hippie 'do-gooders' such as the creators worrying about the emotional state of those they've come to observe. The moments captured can be affecting, but not enough context is given for those who, with the typical American short-term memory, no longer recall much about the event and its effects. We're also not introduced well to the fellow travelers, even though they reappear throughout, making their reactions less powerful than they could have been. One of them gets lost early on, but we never find out how, when, or where she rejoined the group. While the portraits are lovely, this well-meaning project is much less successful than intended, since there isn't enough information for the reader to seize onto or recall five minutes after reading." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A powerful eco-report, Oil and Water also manages to be a report on the gap between classes that isn't about who has what, but rather about what "having" means to different groups of Americans." Francisca Goldsmith, School Library Journal
"Reporter Steve Duin and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler visited Louisiana to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and their legwork shows. By contrasting the perspectives of out-of-state do-gooders and hard-bitten locals, Duin and Wheeler tell a nuanced story that goes a long way to evoking what the catastrophe means to those who still live with it." Joe Sacco
"Oil and Water is smart, informative and completely engaging. We experience the disaster through the eyes of Duin and Wheeler's richly developed, beautifully illustrated characters and the result is a stunning graphic novel not to be missed." Jeff Lemire
"The book puts a human face on this event and makes it clear that while the beaches were cleaned quickly, the effects will be felt for years to come." Alex Dueben, Comic Book Resources
A devastating look at the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
About the Author
Steve Duin, twice named the nation's best local columnist by the Society of Professional Journalists, is the co-author of Comics: Between the Panels. Shannon Wheeler is the Eisner Award-winning creator of Too Much Coffee Man. Bill McKibben is the author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, among other titles; he is the founder of 350.org, which in 2010 organized what CNN called "the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history."
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