A Graphic Novel by Jakub Topor
Going into this, I had no idea what to expect considering the description. The unlikely plotline of two extreme right-wing white nationalists falling in love despite their insane bigotry was not something I’d go out of my way to read, but I figured “what the heck” and had an open mind. This comic is crass, vulgar, and sophomoric, but it adequately digs deep into the mind of guys that make hating others into a religion of sorts, and steps back to let you see their worldview fall apart as they become emotionally attached in a way that “isn’t supposed to happen” in a world of juvenile macho bravado. Now they both have to prove they aren’t homosexual to their respective friend groups, and try to stay apart, but fate doesn’t let that happen for too long. They try to play it normal, but have entangled themselves in a scene that basically wants them dead for being who they are. It seems hate was cool until they were the recipient of it.
“When Zapsky and Byro meet during a right-wing nationalist march, their joint escape from the police results in an unexpected and violent outburst of passion. Their initial euphoria quickly turns into doubt and fear—after all, if their buddies found out about them, the consequences would be terrible… But now that they’ve come together, will they be able to simply forget and move on with their lives? Or is it something more lasting, despite the risk it represents for both? “Nationalist Love” is the third graphic novel by Jakub Topor, nominated for the graphic novel of the year award at the Lodz Comics Festival.”
As you can tell, the art style is not glamorous, it is in fact one of the “uglier” comics I’ve red outside of some of the purposefully ugly stuff seen in Mad Magazine or works inspired by Ed Roth of Ratfink fame. The story is hard to get through simply because of the tone, is it trying to be comedic? Is it trying to be a hard look at bigotry and how it affects people? Does it glamorous unlikeable people? All yes sadly. While the book eventually gets somewhere, it was hard for me to not to end it before I finished and say “this isn’t for me”. I’m glad I made it to the end, and I respect the author for making a comic like this, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend this to too many people. If you are up for a total challenge to any boundaries you might have, or are into comics that get banned for crazy subject matter – this might be for you.
If you would like a copy of this book for yourself, please click HERE
NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.