A Comic About Surfing, Small Towns, and Blue-Skinned Aliens

Reading between the lines.
March 30 2012 3:00 PM

Surfing With the Aliens

This month’s cartoonist Pat Grant and his weird and woolly new graphic novel Blue.

120328_BOOKS_blue
Blue
by Pat Grant
Top Shelf

In the tiny Australian factory town of Bolton, a trio of friends skips school to surf a monster swell. But the waves have carried to shore a collection of ramshackle boats, each one of which is filled with mysterious blue-skinned creatures. Years later, one of those kids looks back on the day his life, and his town, changed forever.

Thoughtful and complicated where other comics might be flashy and simplistic, Blue is a graphic novel that goes in unexpected directions. Grant’s energetic spot-colored artwork, beautiful and ugly at the same time, brings the town of Bolton and the three misfit friends to life, while the story he tells explores immigration, the hazards of memory, and the beauty and scariness of big waves. Blue really stuck with me after I read it, and I’m pleased that Australian cartoonist Grant has illustrated the second issue of the Slate Book Review.

See all the pieces in the new Slate Book Review.

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Learns That Breaking Up a Country Is Hard to Do

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 11:36 AM Breaking Up Countries Is Still Hard to Do
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 19 2014 12:08 PM The CIA Used to Have a Commute-by-Canoe Club. One Member’s Memories.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 12:10 PM Watch the Trailer for Big Eyes, a Tim Burton Movie About People With Normal-Sized Eyes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 11:40 AM Apple Invented the Perfect Way to Handle Your Giant New Phone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.