Asaf Hanuka's The Realist
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on April 6, 2011 - 10:49
I hope you've discovered Asaf Hanuka's The Realist already, but if you haven't dive into the archives. Hanuka updates on a weekly schedule with detailed, realistic artwork that in combination with tackling real life subjects delivers an emotional wallop.
The comic started when the Israeli newspaper Calcalist commissioned Hanuka to produce a regular comic for the newspaper. A review of the comic by the Jewish Daily Forward states, "To Israelis, Hanuka brings a story to daily domestic finances, and to the English-speaking world, he shows the everyday struggle of a young family in a part of the world usually known for its explosive politics."
You may have previously heard of Asaf Hanuka from his contributions to Waltz with Bashir, the award winning animation feature film by director Ari Folman. Hanuka also worked on Pizzeria Kamikaze with writer Etgar Keret, which was nominated for the Eisner awards in 2007.
Hanuka is a very skilled illustrator and honestly, I just like his style very much. Although he's primarily dealing with family life, including money issues, he also delves into news and general cultural events as well. He doesn't always take a literal approach to dealing with these real life topics though. Sometimes he weaves in dreams and creates allegorical images; other times he interweaves his personal issues with world events. Most of all though I think he does an amazing job at getting at emotional truth in his work. Just look at this use of the Fantastic Four superhero characters imagery in this comic describing his relationship with his son. One the one hand it's just a great reuse of pop culture; but on another it's a way of linking a typical guy topic -- superheroes -- with another essential part of guyhood, being a dad. Here's another one that gets at an aspect of fatherhood -- dad as protector -- in an interesting way.
The comic also provides a different look at Israel than one usually gets through the news in the United States. Comics that touch on aspects of life in Israel and that both show subtle differences, but also the extent of globalized pop culture everywhere are just fascinating glimpses into another country.
All of the comics in the archives are worth reading but it probably makes sense to start here where Hanuka essentially started anew with a weekly webcomic schedule.