Fraternity

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

'Fraternity Vol. 1' by Juan Diaz Canales with art by Jose-Luis Munuera is a story about a boy and his relationship with a strange creature.  At least that's what the cover would have you think.

It is 1863 in Fraternity, Indiana, and the community is trying to be a utopia.  They want nothing to do with the war, and they really don't want their lives disrupted.  When a young feral boy is found in the wild, the town takes him in, but food is scarce and the town seems to be on the brink of failure.  The young boy seems to be connected to a large creature, but when the town stumble across him, they react with fear.  That and the prejudice the townspeople have make this a less than idyllic utopia.

Let's start with the positive.  I really liked the illustrations.  They do a great job of setting the mood.  The color is muted and some of the drawings are muted and mysterious.

The story may just be setting things up, so I'm going to cut it a bit of a break.  All the elements are here for an interesting story, but I'm left with questions.  Is the large creature an alien or some odd native creature?  How did this group of people ever agree to live together?  Why is this boy alone?  None of these are answered, and the story feels a bit lacking in momentum because of this.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Lion Forge, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
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I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading this. An interesting story with fun characters. Well written.
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Fraternity is a darkly beautiful work based on a utopian society, New Fraternity. that once existed in the United States. Of course, the dream is crumbling, as the Civil War rages on, making resources harder to find. A child found in the woods is taken in, and is unable to speak. A creature that walks on two legs, seen by townsfolk as a terror forms an unlikely bond with the child. Fear, conflict, and a heart-wrenching tale of love & murder awaits in this masterpiece.
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I attempted to read this about 3 times. I did manage to finish it. I just found that this graphic novel, overall, didn't appeal to me. That is not to say that this book isn't good. The art is very good, dialogue works for the most part. You might enjoy it. It's worth a look.
This is just a book that didn't grab my personal interest enough.
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"Fraternity" is the story of a utopian town of New Fraternity, Indiana, a mute boy found in the woods, and a monster that is killing deer and livestock. This setup sounds good, and some parts of the story are incredible, but as a whole, most of the story is more about political strife in the town, those who believe the monster is a sign from God versus the founding members of the town who built the structure on atheistic beliefs, and the sightings and destruction of people and property by this monster are what bring the town into turmoil. I really love the style of the comics, some of the panels I just stared at for a long periods before moving on to the rest of the story, but this is only an average book because the storytelling seems to drag. I feel like they really wanted to do something different, make this more about the repercussions on the town's morality due to a monster in the woods more than the monster himself, and the effort is noticed. It is a nice try but not the best direction to telling this story. The art is beautiful though. This saves "Fraternity" in my mind.

I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Lots to unpack here. The art is a mixed bag. The color scheme, mostly black and white with some muted color, is great. Very atmospheric. The people are very angular, their expressions kind of wooden. So, when there was come confusion about the plot, the art didn't always clarify. The story accomplishes a lot, with a monster in the forest bringing down what's meant to be an ideal community, bringing secrets and problems to the surface. It's a fascinating exploration of human nature and politics, occasionally muddied by plot holes.
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The plots and characters take a while to reach an unsatisfactory ending. There's no answer to the creature or its potential connection to Emile, the love triangle fizzles, and the town council is stuck in their ways.
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I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I initially chose this because of the cover. It looked pretty cool and I didn't really pay too much attention to the description. As many readers have already said, there was a lot going on in this book, especially with it being so short,  but there didn't really seem to be any connections. There were so many loose ends with people, monsters, a wild child, and an experimental utopia in the middle of nowhere.  
The artwork was ok for me but I just couldn't get into the story. It was just ok for me because it wasn't what I was expecting.
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Though the art was pretty decent (with the exception of a couple of characters who were drawn in a way that felt like caricature that you'd get in a tourist trap) and the creature design was pretty cool, I largely was unimpressed by this graphic novel. I felt like there was a lot going on-- a monster in the woods, a silent wild child, a town built on principles of atheism, military desertion, racism, sexism... I don't mind there being many facets to a story, but many of these didn't really connect to each other in any meaningful way, which made the shotgun-blast of ideas covered a bit confusing (which then left me bored).
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I read this graphic novel together with The Husband, who has already posted a full review. Please go check it out, cause he put it all Way better than me…

This was an okay read. Yes, I picked it up for the cover and didn’t read the blurb – maybe, probably, I went into it with the wrong expectations…

The story tells about a colony founded upon utopian ideas and their struggles. Add to this the Civil War, a child found in the forest and a strange, monterous creature and you get Fraternity. Although the story was somewhat interesting, in the end it focussed a lot on religion, while I wanted it to tell me about the child and the creature. As it is, those felt more like an out of place subplot.

I did like the artwork a Lot, it fits the story perfectly:

Overall, an okay read but not what I had hoped for.
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The drawing was excellent, the writing was good, but the story was blah... shame, as this could've been much much better. Will be looking out for further work from the authors, but this one wasn't particularly worth it.
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I unfortunately didn't finish this because it really isn't my kind of thing. I found it confusing and I couldn't tell the difference between most of the male characters because it's set at a time where I think all men pretty much looked and dressed the same. The time setting seems kind of interesting and I liked the art, but I wasn't getting anything out of the reading experience so I think I'll just try Blacksad by the author which gets much better reviews instead.
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I have tried to read this graphic novel four times now, and between the content and the artwork, I simply cannot seem to get into it enough to finish it. The writing doesn't click with me, the religious notes were off-putting, and it feels very info-dump-y in the beginning.
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“Fraternity” is inspired by real-life people, philosophies, and communities, but it is set in an imaginary town. The date is 1863, and the Civil War is still raging. The town of New Fraternity is a utopian experiment founded on the idea of equality for all. The town thinks it is removed from the war, but unfortunately finds it cannot escape the external War nor the internal battle being waged within the town. 

Plotlines featuring various characters – a feral boy rescued from the forest, a returning wanderer, an independent thinking schoolteacher, etc., are interwoven, painting a complex tale of how human nature can ultimately ruin a wonderful ideal. Peace is easy when prosperity reigns, but tensions rise when times are tough. All of a sudden, socioeconomics, race, gender, ideology, and religion divide people. And then add to that already potent combination, a demon living in the nearby forest, which is terrifying the townspeople. 

Munuera’s art is detailed and gorgeous. Sedyas’ colors are dark and muted, creating atmosphere and increasing tension. Canales exercises control in knowing when to allow the visuals to tell the story and when to include dialogue. It is in the silences that we are allowed time to process and feel the horror building as the story heads toward its inevitable conclusion. 

I would recommend “Fraternity.” It is a beautiful and tragic reminder of what happens when we let fear control us.
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Set during the Civil War at a small community that is trying to create a perfect utopia.  Factions arise as it starts to fall apart and a creature appears.  This had some potential but too many subplots.  The monster angle felt a bit out of place with everything else also going on.  I loved the art.  It reminded me of the old Disney version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
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The premise of this graphic novel had great potential. It has a big introduction before the art starts. The talent is very visible. I am just a bit put of by religious overtones. The story was all over the place. It was not bad. I wouldve just liked a little more explanation through the art. I am not clear as to what the punchline was in the end.
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Being a fan of Canales' Blacksad graphic novels, I was quite interested in reading Fraternity and the cover also drew my interest. That being said, I was a bit confused by the pacing of the story. This historical inspired graphic novel is about an independent community that has essentially withdrawn from the government (along with the Civil War) to become a self-supporting Utopian society. Unfortunately, there are complications as supplies are running low and division rises between the wealthier contributors and the field-working farmers, allowing "human nature" to be the slow downfall of the society. 

While I was interested, I spent a lot of time in confusion as to why certain elements were even placed in the story. With the inclusion of these additional plot devices, including the arrival of Civil War deserters, the feral child, and his forest guardian (which most believed to be a demon from Hell), I suppose it sped up the dissolution of the society which also resulted in quite a few deaths not to mention the burning of part of the commune. There were so many things going on in the story, I became quite turned around by the end of it all. 

It's not really horror more speculative-historical fiction, but I think if some things had been either been omitted or more developed, the story might not have been quite as confusing. But then again, that might have been the desired result of both Canales and Munuera. I would recommend this graphic novel to readers who enjoy illustrations with a mysterious air and a story that will keep them guessing.
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Fraternity reminded me of Shyamalan's The Village a lot and it was as confusing. It tells the story of the settlers, who wanted to create their own Utopia in the 19th century. It's set in Indiana, USA. The settlers find a feral boy they name Emile, who has something to do with this monster everyone is trying to find and kill. Not only that but the lack of food and loss of Utopian dreams and values makes people turn to monsters themselves. Killing seems easy and justified, who even needs solidarity? Fraternity is a good example of how people cannot really function together and make a perfect society. The lack of trust and the need to value yourself more than others is always present and the dark and grim atmosphere is very fascinating. The plot doesn't really go anywhere though and the characters feel paper-thin, which is a shame, since Canales knows better (just look at Blacksad). The comic felt sporadic and the focus was nowhere to be seen, so basically the atmosphere had to pull everything together and it couldn't.

The art is great, brutal and still fine with scratches. The dark color world fits very well and the monster looks just awesome. Points for facial expressions and overall art quality, which makes this look wonderful. The art and atmosphere alone just couldn't save this enough, although Fraternity isn't a bad comic. It depends on what you are after whether this rocks your boat or not. For me Fraternity fell flat, but I could still enjoy the parts that worked.
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The dark texture of the past is sometimes overtaken by the wanton romanticism of what could have been. This has been talked in many ways in reference to the Old West whereas in fact it was a dirty and murderous place as was the pioneer trade. Life was very hard. People made mistakes. But life went on. This aspect is taken into account in the graphic novel “Fraternity” [Juan Diaz Canales/Lion Forge/128pgs] which speaks to many of the utopian societies who after The Civil War tried to take the aspect of equality and fairness into effect. However the sociological structure which it shows paints back the idea that many are still grappling with today which is the aspect of classicism and more prominently racism. At the core comes a creature that shows both tenderness and vicious violence, not unlike the human reflections that occupy New Fraternity. McGowan, the old elder, has tried to shelter the people from violence even going so far as to hide weapons that could be used to subjugate each other deep in catacombs outside their domiciles. Like many forebearing Messiah myths, the truth comes in the form of a child who grows into a man who speaks the truth. Emile is that boy, mute in his progression but pure in his beliefs. It is he who finds the devil, more specifically dictated in the form of a minotaur. This creature in many ways is reflective of the people’s behavior which is balanced on the idea of what utopia is an how the inherent nature of its power and instability makes it fall apart, both because of class difference but who the governing body should be. The drawing of the characters in many ways with exaggerated noses and specific eye structure brings to mind the 40s animation of Disney. But like those ideas where the most severest of creatures usually have a benevolent side, the notion of unity with Emile and the creature which is ripped apart in ways by the village’s fear illustrates a bigger problem. Like any community, betrayal carries a harsh consequence and “Fraternity”allows for the idea that no story is clean cut and all are treated differently. There are always strands of life that continue to grow forth.

C

By Tim Wassberg
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This was an interesting read and definitely good for October, but almost every person in it is just awful and it's a little bit more depressing than I would have liked. Even so, I did like the ending and thought it was very fitting. The art was good and the color palette matched the mood very well but I think it could have maybe been just a touch less cartoonish and really leaned into the dark nature of the whole thing.
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