“Cartooning is the art of distilling reality to its essence. There is nothing superfluous in a good cartoon. That quality makes the medium particularly well-suited for memoir: comics are like memories, in that they filter and capture only the most important details. The difference between good and bad cartooning is how well the cartoonist filters and captures. Ross Mackintosh is a good cartoonist.”
In his forward to Seeds, Brian Flies (Mom’s Cancer) explains the recent notion to use the comic book/graphic novel medium to “tell personal, powerful, true stories”. Books like Persepolis and Maus are certainly vibrant examples of graphic memiors, but Seeds is something a little different. Seeds makes you realize a story that, while it may not be similar to that of your own one day it will be. Flies writes “Seeds is about Ross Mackintosh’s family, and mine, and millions of others. That’s what good comics can do.”
And it’s true.
Seeds had me tearing up a bit as I read through it’s beautiful, simple, and bleak pages. As we are taken through the story of his father’s diagnosis, battle, and death by cancer, we get a glimpse at the true nature of life and death, parent and child, and sickness and health.
We were always meant to outlive our parents.
Mackintosh explains , “I know about gene propogation; that our bodies are just enablers, containers, to preserve our genes for the next generation. We spend our lives protecting our bodies and reproducing, to keep the thread of genes continuous. As soon as we are certain that our offspring can prosper, we become disposable. A species that cares about it’s offspring will flourish.
And there is this irony:
Those who love will be rewarded with the endless cycle of birth and death.”
So who said comic books were just for children?