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Berlin: City of Smoke Bk. 2 Paperback – 1 Sep 2008

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Berlin: City of Smoke Bk. 2 + Berlin: City of Stones Part 1 + Jar of Fools: A Picture Story
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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897299532
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299531
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 1.7 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for "Berlin Book One" "A comic of impressive scope, taking place in Weimar Berlin and touching on the issues of politics, aesthestics and technology in that cultural ground zero." "--San Francisco Chronicle ""["Berlin"] will be the longest, most sophisticated work of historical fiction in the medium. Lutes has a natural, clean, European drawing style, much like Herge's "Tintin ". . . This book has the density of the best novels." "--Time"

About the Author

Born in 1967, JASON LUTES is an American cartoonist whose work includes the ongoing Berlin trilogy, and the graphic novel "Jar of Fools."

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Belochka on 21 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
This collected volume (issues 9-16) starts off with a dream sequence as it introduces a new group of characters. They are the 'Cocoa Kids', an American jazz band who are touring Europe. This marks an addition to the themes of the previous volume (City of Stones). With the Cocoa Kids arrival the cultural and social life of Berlin takes a more central role than in previous stories. Whilst it does add to the scale, and highlights the meticulous research once again, it is not without some problems.

For me, the individual characters of the band never quite come to life. The dialogue and characterisation can be quite sparse and flat. It is though Mr. Lutes was aiming for a realistic depiction of black musicians and their experiences in Berlin but in the process missed a vital something. Often I thought their relevance was more to highlight the intrinsic racist elements of a society heading towards fascism, rather than as individuals with their own story. An example of where it does work on its own terms is a delightful scene where the band meets the scintillating Josephine Baker. This is sharply written and comic.

The depiction of music in written and drawn forms is a challenge for the artist and the reader. Unless you are a dedicated fan of American jazz bands of the era; some of the scenes with the band playing are hard to decipher in terms of what is being played and why it creates such an impact on the audience. Perhaps a footnote on the inspiration might have helped a little.The denouement of the band's story in this volume also feels a little too contrived.

Where it all does come satisfyingly together is in the contrasting stories of the post-May Day massacre, which the previous book ended on, and the Berlin nightlife of drugs, gender play and sex.
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Format: Paperback
The multiple story strands from the first volume criss-cross in every direction, threaten to explode at any moment into a myriad of fragments, and spin around each other in an ever accelerating whorl.

This is not an easy story to read. There is so much going on, and the switches between parallel strands so frequent, that it is difficult to become entirely absorbed in the book. The plot's complexity inevitably recalls a juggler holding an astonishing number of balls up in the air, and one is always wondering whether he will be able to avoid dropping any, and how he will manage to catch them all again and put them away.

Consequently, I can't decide whether this is a work of staggering genius, or one that displays a staggering potential that it nonetheless fails to altogether fulfil. Either way I'm looking forward to seeing where it will go in Volume 3.
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Format: Paperback
Having reread this and its prequel (City of Stone) confirms my view that the Berlin series are among of the best of all graphic novels. The writing is intelligent and subtle, the characters feel real and authentic, the structure is complex and intriguing. Above all, Lutes has done a superb job of historical research creating pitch perfect accuracy in every image and storyline. His draughtsmanship is superb and even better than the first volume and his drawings in the European clean line style fit the story perfectly. I cannot recommend these books strongly enough.
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awesome book, animated and historical, gives a very realistic image of Berlin just before the ww2, including the art and music as well as the political and social situation. I somehow liked the first volume better though, not sure why.
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By Q. G. on 7 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the 2nd episode of the Berlin trilogy... it is even better than No.1.
If you love graphic novels and you are interested in hystory, this is for you. I'm looking forward to getting No.3... (as soon as it comes out)
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