Fire Story

Graphic Novelist Who Lost Home in Wildfire Creates Beautiful Comic

The California firestorm devastated hundreds of families and has left forty-two dead. Among the many who lost their homes was graphic novelist Brian Fies. As difficult as it must be for his family, his community, and him, Fies transformed the loss of his home into a brief comic called ‘A Fire Story.’

 

Fire Story p1

Image Via Brian Fies

Fire Story p2

Image Via Brian Fies

 

As heartbreaking as it is to see this happen, Fies’ comic is extraordinarily creative. His style is light and cartoonish, which makes gives the reading experience kind of an ironic feel. You can’t help but laugh when he yells at his neighbor through bad reception, telling her she’s lost her home. It’s kind of funny.

 

Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, Fries talked a little about the process of writing a comic dealing with a really fresh wound. He wrote:

 

‘A Fire Story’ was done under duress, much faster and rougher than I normally would. I drew it with Sharpie markers and colored highlighters on terrible pulp paper because they were the only art supplies I could find at Target, the only open store within 20 miles of home. That’s part of the point: how the comic was made reflects the circumstances it was made in.

 

It’s always difficult to see photographs of tragedies, but it’s almost worse seeing the wildfire depicted in such a personal way. Fies thinks of himself as a sort of “graphic journalist.” One of his previous works, Mom’s Cancer, was a sort of self-therapy for Fies when his mother got sick, but it was also about witnessing and recording the truth of a situation. Considering comics is obviously a visual medium, it’s odd this sort of thing is done so rarely. Though, some nonfiction graphic novels do come to mind: John Lewis and Andrew Aydin’s March, Craig Thompson’s Blankets. Hopefully other artists take Fies’ approach. It’s powerful.

 

Fire Story

Image Via Brian Fies

Fire Story

Image Via Brian Fies

 

Read the full ‘A Fire Story’ on Fies’ blog here.

 

Feature Image Via Brian Fies