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District Comics is a graphic anthology featuring lesser-known stories about Washington, DC, from its earliest days as a rustic settlement along the swampy banks of the Potomac to the modern-day metropolis. Spanning 1794-2009, District Comics stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate's speakeasy, a look into the punk scene, and much more. Featuring stories by: Sco District Comics is a graphic anthology featuring lesser-known stories about Washington, DC, from its earliest days as a rustic settlement along the swampy banks of the Potomac to the modern-day metropolis. Spanning 1794-2009, District Comics stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate's speakeasy, a look into the punk scene, and much more. Featuring stories by: Scott O. Brown, award-winning man of comics and Harvey Award nominee Chad Lambert, five-time Howard E. Day Memorial Prize finalist and writer for Kung Fu Panda and Megamind Jim Ottaviani, creator of The New York Times bestseller Feynman


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District Comics is a graphic anthology featuring lesser-known stories about Washington, DC, from its earliest days as a rustic settlement along the swampy banks of the Potomac to the modern-day metropolis. Spanning 1794-2009, District Comics stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate's speakeasy, a look into the punk scene, and much more. Featuring stories by: Sco District Comics is a graphic anthology featuring lesser-known stories about Washington, DC, from its earliest days as a rustic settlement along the swampy banks of the Potomac to the modern-day metropolis. Spanning 1794-2009, District Comics stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate's speakeasy, a look into the punk scene, and much more. Featuring stories by: Scott O. Brown, award-winning man of comics and Harvey Award nominee Chad Lambert, five-time Howard E. Day Memorial Prize finalist and writer for Kung Fu Panda and Megamind Jim Ottaviani, creator of The New York Times bestseller Feynman

30 review for District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, DC

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Rhode

    I'm an author of a story in the book so don't trust my rating I'm an author of a story in the book so don't trust my rating

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alger Smythe-Hopkins

    This is a volume that cries out for editorial control. The approach appears to have been "choose a DC themed story that interests you and develop it". This resulted in a book that is very uneven. Some few of the stories are excellently told tales of little known people who created or typify the city ("101 miles of Monument" really stands out here, along with "Dark was the Night"). But most are under-researched event stories ("Burn, Washington, Burn" for example) or biographies that take ten pages This is a volume that cries out for editorial control. The approach appears to have been "choose a DC themed story that interests you and develop it". This resulted in a book that is very uneven. Some few of the stories are excellently told tales of little known people who created or typify the city ("101 miles of Monument" really stands out here, along with "Dark was the Night"). But most are under-researched event stories ("Burn, Washington, Burn" for example) or biographies that take ten pages to relay the contents of a one paragraph Wikipedia entry (Vinnie and Abe" is the stand out in this category). A number are only tangentially related to DC at all ("Rolling Thunder" has almost nothing to do with DC, although it could have but the author did not even try to make it relevant, and it is boring to boot). Because it is an anthology I can cut some slack, but a number of these efforts should have been sent back for rework or just rejected at the draft stage. The biggest failure of the book is that it simply jumps over an awful lot of crucial events. We skip from the War of 1812 to the 1860s and get four stories about the Civil War era, and then suddenly it is 1932. Then it's 1950, and from there the book floats around the past couple of decades for half the book. We essentially miss every formative event in the building of the city, most of the crucial eras that formed the population of the city, and the subject bias is weirdly white for a city that is more than half black. Instead of a telling of the exciting U Street Renaissance and the legacy of Howard University that gave the world Zora Neale Hurston and Duke Ellington, we get Ronald Reagan and squirrels. Instead of the formidable Frederick Douglass and Anacosta we get the overly detailed story of the guy that played taps wrong at JFK's funeral. Instead of the destructive 1968 riots that defined DC for three decades, we get a weirdly empty story about the man who designed the police badge for the 2008 presidential inauguration. What about the black migration into the city looking for opportunity? Using that premise, even that embarrassingly awful movie "The Butler" captured the soul of DC better than this book. Equally, the book is missing the very important fact that the city is almost entirely a creature of the Federal Government (and what a great story the DC statehood fight would have made too). Essentially this is a book without a center, or even the mission to tell a coherent or meaningful history of the city. The expected audience is clearly the kinds of people who would by a comics anthology just because it is about their city. This certainly guaranteed the DC library system would buy a few copies anyway. In short I was greatly disappointed with what should have been an interesting book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Raina

    It's a great concept - a bunch of short nonfiction pieces, chronologically arranged, about the history of a particular city. In this case, Washington, D.C. Dembicki, the editor, is good at that part of this process of creating a collection. Of coming up with a hooky concept. However, if I'd realized he was also the mind behind Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection, I might have steered clear. And my caution would have been legit... The execution quality of these pieces is pretty It's a great concept - a bunch of short nonfiction pieces, chronologically arranged, about the history of a particular city. In this case, Washington, D.C. Dembicki, the editor, is good at that part of this process of creating a collection. Of coming up with a hooky concept. However, if I'd realized he was also the mind behind Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection, I might have steered clear. And my caution would have been legit... The execution quality of these pieces is pretty mixed, and I'd say that generally they're way too text heavy. Like he recruits authors who are subject experts, who don't actually know the art of writing for the comic medium. It's the same problem I had with Trickster. That and I was rarely a big fan of the art styles. HOWEVER, I LOVE obscure history. And this book is full of it. Multiple times, after reading one of the pieces, I found myself googling the actual people or phenomena covered, and getting lost on the interwebs learning about the things. Particularly notable: the fact that Washington DC was built to be the capitol city, and really didn't exist as a place before that the creation of the Army Medical Museum (particularly as a groundbreaking scientific resource) Lavinia "Vinnie" Ream! Totally a historical figure I would have written a paper about in college. JAMES HAMPTON! Srsly, this one led me to watch a half hour lecture/ppt on YouTube. SO fascinating. the creation of the subway stations the design of the special police badge for Obama's inauguration Some great information in here, and in a form in which I actually consumed it. I just wish the telling was a bit more consistent in quality.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sonora Taylor

    Overall, a decent collection. I learned things I didn’t know about the area I call home! However, I don’t think it lived up to the editor’s promise about diving deeper into DC than politics. 75% of the stories still dealt with the government in some capacity, and more than what just comes with the territory here. I think there were many opportunities to tell other, more local stories or talk about other local happenings. The riots only get a passing mention. Nothing about the current sports team Overall, a decent collection. I learned things I didn’t know about the area I call home! However, I don’t think it lived up to the editor’s promise about diving deeper into DC than politics. 75% of the stories still dealt with the government in some capacity, and more than what just comes with the territory here. I think there were many opportunities to tell other, more local stories or talk about other local happenings. The riots only get a passing mention. Nothing about the current sports teams, the changing neighborhoods, Black Cat, the High Heel Race, Marion Berry, Georgetown or GWU, cherry blossoms ... the list goes on. There was a lot of unrealized potential. Still, it was a quick and interesting read with some good art.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This was just "OK" for me. I enjoyed learning little known historical facts about D.C., but some were better than others. There were those that I didn't particularly like the vehicles they used to bring the story to life. An example would be the attempted assassination of President Truman by some Puerto Rican Nationalists which ended with a gun fight in front of Blair House. I just so happened to have read a book on that last year, so I knew the details of what happened. The author of the comic This was just "OK" for me. I enjoyed learning little known historical facts about D.C., but some were better than others. There were those that I didn't particularly like the vehicles they used to bring the story to life. An example would be the attempted assassination of President Truman by some Puerto Rican Nationalists which ended with a gun fight in front of Blair House. I just so happened to have read a book on that last year, so I knew the details of what happened. The author of the comic chose to insert a newspaper reporter and a rookie photographer within the narrative and it took away from the actual story. It made no sense. I can understand the contributors of the book trying to find a way to present these historical stories in an interesting way, but it was hit or miss with me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Simpson

    I thought that this was going to be a history of DC as a graphic novel, instead it's the Fantasia of DC history: several unrelated vignettes in completely different artistic styles that range from average to extraordinary. My favorites were the ones from the 1960s onwards, especially "Dark was the Night," "Spytini," "101 Miles of Monument," "Ego Shine," and "Design and Detail." These ones particularly highlighted the qualities that I wanted to see, as a resident of the District because they're t I thought that this was going to be a history of DC as a graphic novel, instead it's the Fantasia of DC history: several unrelated vignettes in completely different artistic styles that range from average to extraordinary. My favorites were the ones from the 1960s onwards, especially "Dark was the Night," "Spytini," "101 Miles of Monument," "Ego Shine," and "Design and Detail." These ones particularly highlighted the qualities that I wanted to see, as a resident of the District because they're the stories of real district residents who aren't politicians and live in the parts of DC outside the National Mall and Capitol Hill. Worth the read for any resident of DC.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emilia P

    I really liked this as an idea, and liked a lot of the comics individually, and appreciated the variety of tales, but it didn't all come together for me, in the end. I suppose that is the nature of an anthology. Read if you have a soft spot for this weird little town, I spose. Or spies, or military medical history, or tin foil altars. Yep. It's all there. I really liked this as an idea, and liked a lot of the comics individually, and appreciated the variety of tales, but it didn't all come together for me, in the end. I suppose that is the nature of an anthology. Read if you have a soft spot for this weird little town, I spose. Or spies, or military medical history, or tin foil altars. Yep. It's all there.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Cain

    Going into reading this book I was not expecting much from the book except for history in the form of comics. I was horribly mistaken, this book was packed full of information from the late 1700 to the late 2000 and talked about things from wars, to pandas in a zoo. The book had many stories from the past made by multiple authors. There was so much information about different topics which made it very exciting and a page turner. My two favorite story’s talked about two way different things, one w Going into reading this book I was not expecting much from the book except for history in the form of comics. I was horribly mistaken, this book was packed full of information from the late 1700 to the late 2000 and talked about things from wars, to pandas in a zoo. The book had many stories from the past made by multiple authors. There was so much information about different topics which made it very exciting and a page turner. My two favorite story’s talked about two way different things, one was about a shooting near the president, and another was a about a panda and his bird friend. There was a very consistent flow of information and interesting things about the past. Since I was born in 2004 I was not around during the world wars, past Presidents, and other information from the past and this gave me an understanding of the past. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book is because not only was it a fun and different book it but it was still full of information. A very cool thing was the detail and the design of the comics and drawings. Almost every single box was colored with great detail and bright colors. This was one of the main reasons I liked this book. These colors where a sign for the story and what was to be expected. I do not normally read comic books which made it a little bit challenging to read and understand. If you read comic books I would for sure recommend it to you and even if you don’t read comic books I would still recommend it just might be a little bit harder for you to read. Since there were multiple writers it is hard to talk about what was wrong with the writing and what was right. The reason it is hard to judge the writing is because if you don’t like one section you will probably like the next section. If you like one author with the same writing through the whole book then I would not recommend this book to you because it is not made in that type of way. One of the cons that I had in this book was that the sections were in random order and some of them had nothing to do with the section after. The reason this was bad is because it was hard to read because there was sometimes no reasoning for a sections placement. In conclusion it was a very interesting book and would for sure recommend to other comic book readers and to people who are interested in the past but do not want to read a large book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Connor Donnelly

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. District Comics is a unique take on both graphic novels and historical writing. This book organizes some of the lesser-known stories of America's capital and has different artists to portray them. This book is a fun and informative read but is also a double-edged sword. One of the books greatest strengths is also the only thing that caused me to dislike the book. Having multiple artists tell stories in one book is a great idea but it also means that not every reader will like each story's art sty District Comics is a unique take on both graphic novels and historical writing. This book organizes some of the lesser-known stories of America's capital and has different artists to portray them. This book is a fun and informative read but is also a double-edged sword. One of the books greatest strengths is also the only thing that caused me to dislike the book. Having multiple artists tell stories in one book is a great idea but it also means that not every reader will like each story's art style. For instance, I disliked the watercolor artwork as I found it very difficult to read and distracting. Despite my artistic opinions, I thought that the narratives that were shared in this book were very intriguing and kept me interested. I particularly enjoyed the short tale about the groundbreaking punks in the Bad Brains being "Banned from D.C." as well as learning the long and confusing process of designing the city. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in picking up a few historical conversation points or to expose oneself to a different type of graphic novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lkking

    Short essays in graphic novel format. Little known facts and stories from and about Washington, D.C. Didn't know about the shrine in the garage or the falsely accused spy or the attempt on Truman's life or any of most of the other tales. Interesting read. Short essays in graphic novel format. Little known facts and stories from and about Washington, D.C. Didn't know about the shrine in the garage or the falsely accused spy or the attempt on Truman's life or any of most of the other tales. Interesting read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    courtney Prior

    I was thrilled to find this in the KC library. I loved the later stories, especially the one about the metro.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    A cute book. I like some sections of the book. I jumped over some other sections. This book provides some insights into DC’s history and I learned some new things!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This graphic novel is an extremely entertaining and surprising compendium of vignettes about District of Columbia history, colorful characters, etc, ranging from a man who supplied liquor to Congress during Prohibition, to an unfortunate FBI agent who was mistakenly taken for Hansen by the CIA and whose life was subsequently ruined when he was mistakenly arrested and let go by the FBI, from the story of a DC punk band to the story of the bugler who played taps at JFK's burial at Arlington, from This graphic novel is an extremely entertaining and surprising compendium of vignettes about District of Columbia history, colorful characters, etc, ranging from a man who supplied liquor to Congress during Prohibition, to an unfortunate FBI agent who was mistakenly taken for Hansen by the CIA and whose life was subsequently ruined when he was mistakenly arrested and let go by the FBI, from the story of a DC punk band to the story of the bugler who played taps at JFK's burial at Arlington, from the story of the female teen sculptress whose statue of Lincoln stands in the Capitol rotunda to that of an enterprising shoe-shine man who got the law prohibiting street bootblack stands changed, and many more stories. Various writers, artists, etc worked on each vignette - the writing was effective and the drawing was I suppose reflective of the often incredible stories. It was even more exciting that each vignette was in a different style - made for more variety and interest. There was even a story on the first giant panda cub born in DC, as well as stories within stories, such as that contained within the vignette entitled Spytini, wherein a character in the main/contemporary story - what the vignette is about - relates a vivid story of a long ago character who used to frequent the bar, and that story becomes the background of the drink - the Spytini - he's about to serve to a customer. There are interesting stories throughout Washington, starting with its inception - these mini-histories illuminate obscure (and some not-so-obscure) aspects of Washington history. I thought this volume represents a wonderful effort to present Washington history - or some aspects of it - entertainingly, in a volume that definitely holds the reader's attention!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Fure

    Ran through this in an hour at the library. I didn't skip, or skim - I read it completely and loved it. Even the stories I liked less - maybe the art wasn't my favorite, maybe the story didn't flow as well as others - were good. But more often than not, this book was one perfect, compelling note after another. I don't even CARE about DC's history, even though I live here - give me NYC or London any day - and yet, I could still tell this book had rolled up why people love this town, making me und Ran through this in an hour at the library. I didn't skip, or skim - I read it completely and loved it. Even the stories I liked less - maybe the art wasn't my favorite, maybe the story didn't flow as well as others - were good. But more often than not, this book was one perfect, compelling note after another. I don't even CARE about DC's history, even though I live here - give me NYC or London any day - and yet, I could still tell this book had rolled up why people love this town, making me understand it a little more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    I received this as a gift some time ago, glanced at it and set it aside. This past week I returned. I was particularly interested in the comic on the design of the Metro and the Vietnam War Memorial. There were other comics that interested me in flashes. However, my inexperience as a graphic novel reader arrived in bumbling fashion. I had trouble appreciating the words and the pictures together and I didn't always know whether to read left to right or up and down. I think that added some dissatis I received this as a gift some time ago, glanced at it and set it aside. This past week I returned. I was particularly interested in the comic on the design of the Metro and the Vietnam War Memorial. There were other comics that interested me in flashes. However, my inexperience as a graphic novel reader arrived in bumbling fashion. I had trouble appreciating the words and the pictures together and I didn't always know whether to read left to right or up and down. I think that added some dissatisfaction.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bridgid

    There were so many great stories in this book: Walt Whitman volunteering as a nurse during the civil war, James Hampton, the sculptor of the Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nation's Millenium General Assembly (the amazing tin foil folk art sculpture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum), the design and construction of Metro and the Vietnam Memorial (Maya Lin was an undergrad at Yale, and got a B), and why the Bad Brains were banned in DC. The stories were really interesting, but there was no There were so many great stories in this book: Walt Whitman volunteering as a nurse during the civil war, James Hampton, the sculptor of the Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nation's Millenium General Assembly (the amazing tin foil folk art sculpture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum), the design and construction of Metro and the Vietnam Memorial (Maya Lin was an undergrad at Yale, and got a B), and why the Bad Brains were banned in DC. The stories were really interesting, but there was no bibliography. As a librarian, I really wanted to see the sources of their information.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    District Comics was interesting. The unique history kept me in the book however I found that the stories were not expanded on enough. There needed to be fewer stories that went into greater detail. The writing was not up to an adult reader's standards. They were more for a middle school student. The graphics were ok but the lettering was absolutely horrible. This distracted from the artwork. Over all a 3/5 but I still enjoyed it more than other books I've read in the past. (It was a great Christ District Comics was interesting. The unique history kept me in the book however I found that the stories were not expanded on enough. There needed to be fewer stories that went into greater detail. The writing was not up to an adult reader's standards. They were more for a middle school student. The graphics were ok but the lettering was absolutely horrible. This distracted from the artwork. Over all a 3/5 but I still enjoyed it more than other books I've read in the past. (It was a great Christmas gift.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lani

    A hit or miss collection of illustrated history and some more personal tales of the District. Presumably by local artists since I had about 5 sign my copy at SPX last year. The variety of styles was nice, though a few were particularly awful in concept and art or tried to reach farther than a strip in a compliation can manage. Mostly I enjoyed the hidden tidbits of history like the boot black going to court to be a street vendor, or the illustrated words of Whitman and his encounters with dying s A hit or miss collection of illustrated history and some more personal tales of the District. Presumably by local artists since I had about 5 sign my copy at SPX last year. The variety of styles was nice, though a few were particularly awful in concept and art or tried to reach farther than a strip in a compliation can manage. Mostly I enjoyed the hidden tidbits of history like the boot black going to court to be a street vendor, or the illustrated words of Whitman and his encounters with dying soldiers during the Civil War.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    Very enjoyable. Contributors utilize a variety of styles to convey several stories about the history of DC. What I most enjoyed is that many of the stories focused on the so called "little people" or people behind the scenes and their perspectives on history--the bugler at President Kennedy's funeral, a bartendar who waited on a spy, a bootlegger who kept his Congressional customers satisfied (to paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel). Overall a nice read for anyone interested in DC's history who also Very enjoyable. Contributors utilize a variety of styles to convey several stories about the history of DC. What I most enjoyed is that many of the stories focused on the so called "little people" or people behind the scenes and their perspectives on history--the bugler at President Kennedy's funeral, a bartendar who waited on a spy, a bootlegger who kept his Congressional customers satisfied (to paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel). Overall a nice read for anyone interested in DC's history who also appreciates graphic novels!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Babkirk Wellons

    There are some really interesting stories in here from all walks of Washington DC history, but the majority of the comic art just didn't wow me. And neither did the storytelling--a few were told in a kind of tired frame story (e.g., "Son, did I ever tell the story of so-and-so . . . ?"), others had a really contrived way of making facts into first-person history (e.g., the story of a single reporter that saw X event happen), and some were more like descriptions than narratives. I was disappointed There are some really interesting stories in here from all walks of Washington DC history, but the majority of the comic art just didn't wow me. And neither did the storytelling--a few were told in a kind of tired frame story (e.g., "Son, did I ever tell the story of so-and-so . . . ?"), others had a really contrived way of making facts into first-person history (e.g., the story of a single reporter that saw X event happen), and some were more like descriptions than narratives. I was disappointed overall, but the stories that are good are worth reading (if not necessarily worth *seeing*).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is an odd, but interesting collection of stories about the District of Columbia. The quality of the stories and illustrations vary, but on the whole, I really appreciated learning some of the lesser-known tales of the area. I'm not sure why, but it took me a very long time to read this book. I would only get one story in every couple of days and it was set aside numerous times in favor of other books. Still, it was an entertaining read and I'm glad I discovered it at our local library. This is an odd, but interesting collection of stories about the District of Columbia. The quality of the stories and illustrations vary, but on the whole, I really appreciated learning some of the lesser-known tales of the area. I'm not sure why, but it took me a very long time to read this book. I would only get one story in every couple of days and it was set aside numerous times in favor of other books. Still, it was an entertaining read and I'm glad I discovered it at our local library.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jackson Robbins

    District Comics is an information pact graphic novel for the massive history fan or just a passive reader. It really appeals to everyone. With all the different stories and art styles, it keeps the stories fresh and intriguing. The history of Washington D.C. is a truly fascinating subject and the stories of it's citizens are even better. Anthology books sometimes have the problem of not flowing well with one another, but this book has a very clear flow through the stories and time periods. Absol District Comics is an information pact graphic novel for the massive history fan or just a passive reader. It really appeals to everyone. With all the different stories and art styles, it keeps the stories fresh and intriguing. The history of Washington D.C. is a truly fascinating subject and the stories of it's citizens are even better. Anthology books sometimes have the problem of not flowing well with one another, but this book has a very clear flow through the stories and time periods. Absolutly worth a read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I have a story in the book so I can't give it a star rating. I will say that I definitely enjoyed it. I've lived in DC for over 13 years now and a lot of these stories were completely new to me so that's pretty awesome. It's kind of a jerk move to name favorites but I will say I loved them all equally but was maybe .00001% MORE in love with Jeff Barrus and Jacob Warrenfeltz Rolling Thunder story. But a really good book - I'd give a high rating if I could. I have a story in the book so I can't give it a star rating. I will say that I definitely enjoyed it. I've lived in DC for over 13 years now and a lot of these stories were completely new to me so that's pretty awesome. It's kind of a jerk move to name favorites but I will say I loved them all equally but was maybe .00001% MORE in love with Jeff Barrus and Jacob Warrenfeltz Rolling Thunder story. But a really good book - I'd give a high rating if I could.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    While a great idea to tell DC's history through several short comics by different authors, the book itself is kind of uneven. Some are interesting and great, and some are not. Too many of the stories lean on a first person narrator. And while the introduction claims to focus on local history, many of the stories are your regular national historical events that happen to be in DC. I was hoping for more local things. While a great idea to tell DC's history through several short comics by different authors, the book itself is kind of uneven. Some are interesting and great, and some are not. Too many of the stories lean on a first person narrator. And while the introduction claims to focus on local history, many of the stories are your regular national historical events that happen to be in DC. I was hoping for more local things.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah S

    This history goes beyond the usual suspects. Sure, there's a piece about the duel that ultimately killed Stephen Decatur and the story of British soldiers in the Madison White House. There are also stories of artists such as the visionary/folk artist James Hampton and Bad Brains when they played the 9:30 club and Madam's Organ. The quality of the storytelling and art varies widely, but each little piece of history serves as a nice counterpoint to the story you see at the National Mall. This history goes beyond the usual suspects. Sure, there's a piece about the duel that ultimately killed Stephen Decatur and the story of British soldiers in the Madison White House. There are also stories of artists such as the visionary/folk artist James Hampton and Bad Brains when they played the 9:30 club and Madam's Organ. The quality of the storytelling and art varies widely, but each little piece of history serves as a nice counterpoint to the story you see at the National Mall.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    The stories offer a fragmented picture of DC, but they may not be to everyone's taste. For example, I thought the spy story was pretty boring, and I skipped the punk rock story entirely. The tribute to Walt Whitman is touching and gorgeously drawn. Overall, I'm glad I got it from the library rather than buying it, but it did introduce me to some new artists and provided a view of DC that isn't often seen. The stories offer a fragmented picture of DC, but they may not be to everyone's taste. For example, I thought the spy story was pretty boring, and I skipped the punk rock story entirely. The tribute to Walt Whitman is touching and gorgeously drawn. Overall, I'm glad I got it from the library rather than buying it, but it did introduce me to some new artists and provided a view of DC that isn't often seen.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Geoff Sebesta

    A somewhat aimless collection, undone by shaky art and a meandering story. It's all about DC, but there's no overarching narrative and nothing to tie the stories together besides rough chronological order, and some of the stories just don't belong in here. What the heck is the point of the story with Reagan and the acorns? Collections like this really need a framing sequence and a stronger editorial hand. A somewhat aimless collection, undone by shaky art and a meandering story. It's all about DC, but there's no overarching narrative and nothing to tie the stories together besides rough chronological order, and some of the stories just don't belong in here. What the heck is the point of the story with Reagan and the acorns? Collections like this really need a framing sequence and a stronger editorial hand.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Washington Post

    From Colonial-era Georgetown through Obama-era downtown, more than three dozen cartoonists weave a richly textured tapestry of the capital. “Most people think of D.C. as center stage for national politics and iconic monuments, but it’s more than that; if you scratch the surface, you’ll uncover a city rich in history, offbeat tales and unique personalities.”

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shira

    Much like with Dembicki's other anthology, Trickster, I felt the idea was GENIUS but the execution was lacking. Some of the art was unattractive, and some of the stories were boring. But at the end of the day I learned a lot about DC's history that I hadn't known, and the book was mostly pretty enjoyable. The piece on Benjamin Banneker is my favorite. Much like with Dembicki's other anthology, Trickster, I felt the idea was GENIUS but the execution was lacking. Some of the art was unattractive, and some of the stories were boring. But at the end of the day I learned a lot about DC's history that I hadn't known, and the book was mostly pretty enjoyable. The piece on Benjamin Banneker is my favorite.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hoyt

    I really liked this collection of short historic DC-related comic stories. I would have liked to see more stories from the early days of the city, but this was overall an interesting read. Some of the topics drew me in so much that I went out and did some more reading on them. A worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in DC history.

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