Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Comics for Causes - AD: New Orleans After the Deluge

The late summer of 2005 reduced one of the United States' brightest, most colorful cities to bleak, abject horror. People could do little more than try to get out of the way before society, like the levees protecting New Orleans' Ninth Ward, crumbled. Too many couldn't even do that. All have their stories. Some were lucky to have them chronicled by Josh Neufeld and Nick Micciola in AD: New Orleans After the Deluge.

As you may gather from my post on Voices from the Storm, I find the comic book medium not only suitable for this subject matter, but better for maintaining each individual story's narrative cohesion while also showing what happened to everyone day by day. This book illustrates exactly why. Of course, it also helped that it focused on the accounts of fewer people, so it is all the easier to keep track of who was doing what, when, and where.

AD is also in a fairly unique position of being available both in print and as a slightly different web comic. Each comes with some advantages that are not available with the other. The web comic comes with links to a wealth of facts about the storm, helpful tips on disaster preparedness, and unique aspects of local culture with the appropriate panels. For example, the panel of a writer finishing up work on an issue of AntiGravity Magazine includes a link to that publication.

The print edition doesn't come with all the fun and informative links, but it does come with more story, more art, and a different reading experience. There are no ads, no links, nothing to distract the reader, nothing to get in the way as the reader comes face to face with the stark reality and tries to fathom it.

The creators behind AD have used the incredible attention this book has received to provide continuing support to the community even well after Katrina and the BP oil spill. Some of the links in the web comic promote area attractions, helping support the local economy. The release of the print version was accompanied by a fund-raiser for Common Ground Relief. The web site has an entire section of links and resources where readers can learn more about New Orleans, about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and how to help.

And yes, when word got out via AD that Leo McGovern had lost pretty much his entire extensive and expensive comic book collection to Katrina, comic book fans and pros like Darick Robertson mobilized to help him out. This is just one especially unique example of AD inspiring people to lend a hand. Or send a book. There are many, many more.

Read the the book if you haven't already. Prepare to have your guts wrenched by both the subject matter and the moody art. And get ready to be inspired. Help keep up the good work.


  1. HI my name is Nicolas Micciola, nice review i'm just here to clear up a few things that you got wrong:
    A: I had no involvement with A.D. New Orleans After The Deluge. I was involved with helping Josh illustrate Brooke Gladstone's New Book "The Influencing Machine".
    B. Leo McGovern received the generous donation of comics and graphic novels before the publication of A.D. Leo was blogging in the AntiGravity website about the hurricane and his experiences. Not long afterward, Peter Rios of ComicGeekSpeak.com offered to ask his sites fan base to help Leo restart his comic collection, and Leo started to receive comics from places all over the country.

  2. Thank you for clearing all that up. While I had been aware that Darick Robertson helped spread the word to help a Transmet fan, I was unaware of how and when Peter Rios got that ball rolling- an oversight that I'm grateful you've addressed, as I would like to give credit where it's due.