Oscar Zarate - The Park (4 stars)

Graphic novel combining dramatic artwork, an engrossing story and an interesting central issue worthy of debate

Oscar Zarate - The Park


Laurel and Hardy: just a bit of old-fashioned fun, right? In The Park, Oscar Zarate contrasts the suppressed violence of slapstick with an aggressive dog incident to explore ideas of blame, rebellion and social responsibility.

When newspaper columnist Ivan’s dog bites mild-mannered Chris in the local park, neither man will accept blame. In his anger, Ivan pushes Chris, but Chris refuses to fight back and instead just walks away. Their individual resentments heat up over the following days, made worse by their problems of connecting with their grown-up children, who find their fathers either too aggressive or too weak. The children – a physiotherapist and a graffiti artist – later meet, though only one of them knows of the other’s role in the dog incident.

Zarate’s watercolour artwork perfectly illustrates the changing, moody beauty of the park, and emphasises the drama of the night scenes of sex and graffiti.

Dramatic artwork, an engrossing story, an interesting central issue worthy of debate: most graphic novels strive to provide one of these elements, but The Park excels at all three.

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