I promised to be honest. In a Friday article titled "The Best in Comic Books," San Francisco Chronicle writer Michael Berry surveyed more than a dozen graphic novels and comics-related books (including the Abrams books The Art of Harvey Kurtzman, Secret Identity, and Underground Classics: the Transformation of Comics into Comix) and was unimpressed by mine.
Here's the whole thing:
Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts; 202 pages; $24.95) by Brian Fies, author of the acclaimed "Mom's Cancer," serves as a bridge between comics that are wholly fictional and those that employ the strategies of journalism or memoir. Fies of Santa Rosa charts the course of futurism from the World's Fair of 1939 to the final Apollo mission of 1975 and beyond. Unfortunately, the mix of straightforward history, comic book parody/homage and fictional father-son narrative never really gels.
So there you go. Needs more gel. I take tiny solace from the fact that Mr. Berry thought enough of my book to include it in an article titled "The Best in Comic Books" in the first place, and that he seemed tough on other books that have been well-reviewed elsewhere. I respect high standards. Still . . .
I never expected everyone to like or "get" WHTTWOT; plenty of people whose opinions I respect have said good things about it, so I'm not crushed. I am disappointed because I knew that the Chronicle planned to mention WHTTWOT, and a good review in one of the largest-circulation newspapers on the West Coast could have made a big difference. I doubt it'll do any harm in the long run--this isn't a Broadway play, where one critical pan can sink you--but it sure doesn't help.
I expect to be bummed out for a couple of hours and then shake it off by the afternoon. That seems about right.