photo & text by nacrowe
EXIT WOUNDS (DRAWN & QUARTERLY, 2007) by ISRAELI cartoonist RUTU MODAN is a narrative concerned with the crippling PSYCHIC CONSEQUENCES that come with being SEPARATED from family. much of the narrative follows a cab driver named KOBY who learns that his estranged father may have been killed in a terrorist attack. given his distance from his father, the story unfolds as a series of echos and readjustments of this strained relationship as he meets more and more people that have varying degrees of remembering him, including a young wealthy girlfriend named NUMI. as the two seek out KOBY's father, the two find themselves likewise testing out their own feels of connection for one another.
its a very interesting dynamic that MODAN is adroitly manipulating throughout the graphic novel; that idea of CONNECTION and DISTANCE in a volatile geopolitical space. more than a decade ago i was able to visit ISRAEL and witnessed firsthand the extent to which public safety and calculated risk play a daily part of one's existence in major cities like TEL AVIV, JERUSALEM and HAIFA where i was visiting friends. there is a very real sense that anything can happen at anytime and that one's personal relationships are of paramount importance because there is the palpable concept of each day being your last. and that isnt hyperbole. within EXIT WOUNDS, you have characters that feel varying gradations of CONNECTION to one another, irrespective of this background noise of DANGER and wonton public VIOLENCE.
i think its an interesting choice that (SPOILER ALERT) KOBY never explicitly verifies his father's existence but is calmed and soothed that his new wife is such a pleasant person. it is almost as if the reverberations of his father's past actions and the BITTERNESS and PAIN they extolled are being replaced, effectively in abstentia, by a new set of reassuring echos of GRACE and UNDESTANDING. seeing this wonderful, selfless person who is nourished by her new relationship with his father is enough for him to move on as well and initiate a new sense of aspirational connection with NUMI.
its an interesting dynamic and very much reminded me of people ive met in places like VENEZUELA, MYANMAR and ALBANIA who make the most of life in volatile surroundings. life being experienced as ever more PRECIOUS. its something that i dont feel on AMERICAN soil, especially in recent years with the pandemic and political strife effectively bifurcating my country. maybe as some point we will all come to the same realization. definitely not.