Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quick Review: Last Pict by Rick Boven

Last Pict
by Rick Boven
Release Date: March 30, 2011
Ebook Edition; 20 Pages
2011 Nan Bu Nan Publishing

4 / 5 Stars

LAST PICT is a short cartoon story that deals with the inside of being an outsider. With each panel it gives a peek into the circumstances that may have developed the weirdos, spazes, and freaks you've known your whole life. Originally penned in early 2005 and drawn one year later, this is the first installment of author Rick Boven's extensive, unreleased back catalog, and has never before been published

My Thoughts
At first, I wasn't sure what to make of Last Pict, but by the end of the story I was almost in tears for poor little Evan as I watched his heart being destroyed by a well-meaning father who only wished the best for his son.  So many times have I watched my own students as they lingered on the outside, some never "fitting in", some always different from the rest, and never knowing why they were deemed outcasts and freaks.  As Evan uses his talent to draw his friends into his stories, wildly imaginative stories, and believes they will appreciate his efforts and come to like him, we are reminded once again of the reality and the hurt that life often brings to those who are different or who have incredible talents.  Unfortunately, the children were not very appreciative and Evan finds himself on the receiving end and in the middle of a big scrap.  When his father arrives to deal with the situation, he is more angry at being pulled from work than he is about his son getting into a fight.  As the scenes unfold, we see little Evan holding his pieces of art with determination and hope, thinking someone will find his art important and special, only to watch the glow disappear out of his eyes, and the hope fade to nothing as he listens to his father express an idealism that he learn to play football 'like the other boys'.  I have to admit that this little scene played over in my mind several times all afternoon as I was teaching and I was reflecting about my own children, hoping I have never done the same to them without knowing it.  I sincerely hope not as the defeated expression in Evan's eyes and face is still haunting me as I write this and I belive it will be a long time before I forget it.

Mr. Boven uses pictures in a very effective way to get his message across.  I went over the pictures at least five times, totally absorbed in the story each time, reflecting how a well-meaning parent can destroy a child's dream with a careless word without realizing it, and it's a great burden to bear.  I wonder how many of us have done this without knowing what we have done?  I know that tomorrow I am pulling out the paper, the scissors, the glue, the crayons, and whatever else my children desire and I will work very hard to ensure that I never do this to my children or to any other person who crosses my path.  I would never want to see that look of defeat in anyone's eyes because of something I have done.

I look forward to reading more work by Mr. Boven, a writer who uses very subtle techniques to get a big message across to us readers.


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