Fantagraphics. Mar. 2024. 220p. tr. from German by Nika Knight. ISBN 9781683969211. pap. $24.99. F
Formidable Anna 1 is beloved by the townspeople of the German countryside in which she resides, despite the fact that her child, Anna 2, is a literal giant with a physique that her mother refers to as “grotesque.” For her monumental stature, Anna 2 is mocked by both her mother and her community. Anna 2 eventually begets the similarly proportioned Anna 3. Despite the influence of the hypercritical matriarch Anna 1, Annas 2 and 3 have to reconcile the existence of their oversized bodies with a world that derides them for taking up too much space. The Annas’ universe is most often rendered in crayon-box yellows, greens, and reds with an aesthetic that manages to be crude yet chic. The graphic novel’s purported theme about bodily self-acceptance is derailed by the leggy, supermodel-esque portrayals of Annas 2 and 3. The Annas are indeed mythically tall. However, they are also willowy and traditionally feminine—not the features for which women are typically admonished. In addition, one character’s plotline is resolved with a romantic interest, when self-realization might have been more empowering.
VERDICT Oberländer writes a graphic novel that is quirky in tone and execution, but readers in search of deeper commentary about feminism, body positivity, and intergenerational trauma might be left unsatisfied.
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