Black Mane

Black Mane (One Time Press – Lariccia)Black Mane confronts issues of race and gender through the authors self-depreciating self-portrait.  The story is set in Boston during a summer break from graduate school in the midwest.  LaRiccia works in a T-shirt stand on the waterfront and lives in an apartment in Brookline.  The banality of his life is contrasted with the consistent presence of volatile male characters: Hyper testosterone jocks, chauvinistic abusers and entitled alpha males… This book goes much deeper than you would first expect when you pick it up.  As I thumbed through Black Mane the first time, I asked myself “Is this about a were-lion”? And the mixture of LaRiccia’s blend of semi-realistic sketches, non-uniform layouts, “anger fantasy” sequences and emotional exaggeration in his art might catch a reader off guard.  As I settled into this read, I started to realize that Michael LaRiccia has a fantastic narrative to tell and a great question to ask, “in modern society, what makes a man?”  In the book, Mike tries to find the balance between society’s version of “machismo” and what he knows about the good in himself.  The reader follows him as he continues to question his every action and observes the “males” archetypes in his daily walk.  Black Mane explores the everyday side to racism, sexism and stereotypes overall, a fantastic book and discussion-starter.  Pullbox Warning: Mature Audiences only – language issues.

Grade: A-

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Updated: January 30, 2008 — 2:39 pm

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