Review: Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean

I began writing this review April 29, 2011 then a bunch of stuff happened.  I made it as far as the first 2 paragraphs.  I’ve completed it just now and I feel the exactly the same.

I don’t usually write reviews for the Dollar Bin.  I tend to convey my opinions on the audio recordings.  However, after I finished reading the Eisner nominated  Amelia Earhart:  This Broad Ocean by Sarah Stewart Taylor and Ben Towle I just had to get my thoughts and emotions out now, so here I write.

I want to start by telling you that multiple times through my reading experience I felt my whole body well up with emotion.  I found myself just grinning and tearing up all at the same time.  (Did I mention I was reading this in the middle of a crowed restaurant?  Well I was and the threat of out-pouring emotions was a little embarrassing.)  Ben Towle has the incredible ability to give characters with simple black dot eyes the most amazing range of expression.  I truly felt every bout of anxiety, moment of anticipation, and glimmer of hope along with Amelia and the rest of the cast.  Even has I flip through the book to write this review I keep catching myself grinning as I scan the panels.

Sarah Stewart Taylor’s tale of Amelia Earhart as told through the eyes of the young Grace Goodland, writer of the self published local newspaper, The Trepassey Herald,  couldn’t have been told any better.  Grace is a pioneer of her own merit and is the perfect conduit to relay such a powerful example of hope and inspiration.  Her story is both informational and encouraging.  The scenes depicted as the tale is told are well paced and so full of hope and wonder.
Speaking of pacing, the pacing is so perfectly purposeful.  Each page is exactly where it needs to be and displays exactly what it needs to show.  Mainstream comic creators should take note of what a meaningful splash page looks like.  There are plenty throughout this book and each is a functional, artistic masterpiece (I may be laying it on a little heavy here, but I do love them so).  I hear Jason Lutes is much responsible for the visual pacing and breakdown translation from Sarah Stewart Taylor’s prose style to the sequential art brought to us here by Ben Towle and for that I thank him.

I remember Towle working on the pages of Amelia Earhart:  This Broad Ocean and posting progress on his blog.  I remember reading each post and building up anticipation as the release date drew closer.   I remember purchasing the book at the first chance I received.  I remember it sitting on my book shelf for months unread.  But, most of all I remember reading each page and every feeling it gave me.  I can’t say this for a lot of books, but I remember where I was when I read it.  I remember how it made me feel.  I remember closing the cover, clasping my hands, shitting my eyes, and taking it all in.  I remember immediately flipping through it again staring at wonder at each page.  I remember feeling the need and the drive to write a review.  Seven months later I remember every bit of that story and I want to read it, here and now, all over again.