BLOOD OF THE VIRGIN HC MINI-PRINT EDITION SIGNED BY SAMMY HARKHAMRANDOM HOUSE
I really can’t face organizing my thoughts on Sammy Harkham’s Blood of the Virgin into a few paragraphs for this best of the year list. Partly, because it feels I have too much to say about it but also because I feel like I might not articulate its strengths well enough. But I don’t want to let someone else do it in case they don't do it justice, so here I go.
Set primarily in Los Angeles in 1971, Blood of the Virgin is the story of twenty‑seven‑year‑old Seymour, an Iraqi Jewish immigrant film editor who works for an exploitation film production company, and his wife Ida, who's raising their daughter and trying to build a life around Seymour’s evident faults. Sammy Harkham brings us into the underbelly of Los Angeles during a crucial evolutionary moment in the film industry from the last wheeze of the studio system to the rise of independent filmmaking.
It’s a story about being a slave to yourself, your passions, your origins, and your trauma. It’s a book about making art and making amends. The characters are utterly real and compelling and Harkham’s cartooning is flawless; it’s proper comics. It took 14 years to make and it was utterly worth it.