Israeli Indie Comics


The conventions of Asaf Hanuka's graphic memoir The Realist (Archaia) will be familiar to American indie comics fans: An arty urban creative type, in this case a self-torturing cartoonist, copes with marital unrest and rising real estate prices while fretting over Facebook communication strategies and watching his youth's excitement and possibilities irretrievably pass.

But the story, told in one-page installments, feels exotic—and portentous—to Americans. Hanuka is a Tel Aviv resident of Iraqi extraction. His self-absorbed fretting takes on an unnerving funhouse-mirror quality as Hanuka copes with being singled out at security checkpoints, debates his barber about the likelihood his family will be annihilated by Iranian nukes, sees his young son's hands metaphorically bloodstained when playing with a soldier toy in a tub, solemnly watches many friends move out of the country for safety, and ironically notes his relief that—when it comes to the endless cycle of violence—"I'm with the good guys."