October 8th, 2010




It would be easy to dismiss Cuba: My Revolution (Vertigo) as the Cuban Persepolis. But there’s much more to it than that. The graphic novel—written by Cuban expatriate and fine-artist Inverna Lockpez, and drawn by Dean Haspiel (of Harvey Pekar’s The Quitter)—begins with a 17-year-old medical student named Sonya, a Lockpez surrogate who passionately supports Fidel Castro’s newborn revolution. As Castro’s regime begins to show itself to be something less than she’d hoped, Sonya’s idealism is turned against her, until one day she’s forced to choose between revolutionary solidarity and basic human compassion, and forced to deal with the horrific consequences. Like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Lockpez’s My Revolution filters world-shaking events and ideologies through a patina of human struggle and individual triumph. And Lockpez’s story—which only occasionally lapses into chunky exposition—is more candidly brutal. Since her protagonist is older, an unflinching weariness sets in as age and experience either erode Sonya’s convictions, or force them to evolve. Haspiel’s grim, black-white-and-red layouts are textured and expressive, and Lockpez picks the perfect points at which to start, punctuate, and end her nervy narrative… B+