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Comic book artist’s graphic view of Katrina

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Josh Neufeld was just another comic book artist until Hurricane Katrina put him on the bestseller list.

Neufeld was one of thousands of volunteers who rushed to waterlogged Crescent City in the wake of the disaster five years ago — but he’s the only one who came back with a blog, a self-published book, and a gripping graphic novel, “A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge.”

“I was very shocked and upset with what I saw happening down there,” said Neufeld, a longtime artist for the renowned comic series, “American Splendor,” and author of the prior graphic novel, “A Few Perfect Hours.”

“All those people trapped in the city and the lack of government intervention galvanized me into doing something.”

Something first morphed into a blog, and then a collection of entries, called “Katrina Came Calling,” which led to the well-received the new autobiographical graphic novel.

Neufeld’s work as a Red Cross disaster response worker feeding hurricane-stricken citizens remains front and center in “A.D.,” an eye-opening tale of destruction and human perseverance familiar to anyone who read Neufeld’s popular blog.

“A.D.” is filled with sadness, but also the resilience of what Neufeld calls the “colorful characters” of New Orleans. It started as a web comic, but went on to become a New York Times bestseller shortly after its hardcover release in 2009.

It’s now out in paperback, and Greenlight Bookstore is heralding the event with a reading on Sept. 20.

“There’s a heavy readership of graphic novels, and Josh will definitely host an exciting event,” said Rebecca Fitting, who co-wons the shop. “ ‘A.D.’ got a lot of attention when it was released.”

Josh Neufeld at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200]. Sept. 20 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit abookstoreinbrooklyn.blogspot.com.

Posted 12:00 am, September 16, 2010
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