Nine Gallons is political commentator Susie Cagle's 32-page graphic novel exploration of a San Francisco chapter of Food Not Bombs, the all-volunteer grassroots organization that serves free meals in parks. Through expressive art, self-deprecating humor, and nuanced storytelling, Cagle addresses familiar issues of idealism, volunteer burn-out, misguided agendas, and activist in-fighting. Despite her cogent critique of volunteer ethics and philosophy in the US, Cagle is a believer in the political and social power of redistributing food, and her comic also serves as an inspiring primer about how and why to bring Food Not Bombs to your community. All in all, Nine Gallons' second issue is a great, well-drawn story, a relevant discussion, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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Susie Cagle is a graphic journalist who has written and drawn for American Prospect, the Awl, Campus Progress, the Hairpin, McSweeney’s, the Rumpus, and Truthout. She is the founder of the Graphic Journos collective. She lives in Oakland, California.
"Nine Gallons is a 'Food Not Bombs Comic ‘Zine,' but regardless of what it’s about, it looks amazing the second you get a good look at it. The cover is a beautiful marriage of nuanced life drawing and impressive watercolors. It’s essentially a diary of Cagle’s time serving the cause of repurposed food waste. Her lively bobbleheaded penciling style shows that she’s a very effective artist, using various line weights, textures, panels, backgrounds, and layouts, along with expressive people. It’s a very warm and inviting style, full of emotion; I especially enjoyed the shots of her blogging and engaging in some online discourse. The tales of her exploits with a giving organization may choose to focus on food, politics, and urban blight, the 'trendy eco pseudo-revolution,' but they’re also entertaining. I think it’s great that a story can examine ideological differences with how best to aid certain segments of the culture, while also taking the form of an engaging mini-comic. It’s proof again why comics as a medium in general, but moreso mini-comics, can do absolutely anything they want. Grade A.' —Poopsheet Foundation
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