I read a lot of good comics this year, but none stuck with me the way Market Day did. It’s the kind of book that you think about months after you’ve read it. You’ll hear something on the radio or in conversation and it will remind you of Sturm’s poignant look at the past.
The story is simple, but the implications are huge. Mendleman, a Jewish artisan selling rugs at the dawn of the industrial revolution, travels to the market to sell his hand-made rugs. The shopkeeper Mendleman has made his career on, a man who pays Mendleman what he’s worth, has retired and left the store to his son-in-law who has no interest in Mendleman’s rugs. For Mendleman, making a living for his family and making art were the same thing — so what’s he going to do now? It’s the kind of micro and macro storytelling that’s worth writing dozens of essays about.
Beyond all that, Sturm’s artwork is simply gorgeous and exquisitely coloured. The colouring just floors me everytime I look at the book. Flipping through quickly you get to see how the colours evolve as the narrative moves from early morning to the darkest part of the night; but looking within the pages, you’ll find small, simply brilliant colour choices littered everywhere. Every scene draws you into this world that is so familiar, yet so distant from modern life.
It’s my favourite book of the year and a great reminder that history is constantly at a crossroad. — Miles Baker