LaGuardia: A Very Modern Story of Immigration

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LaGuardia, by award-winning science fiction author and writer of Marvel’s Shuri series Nnedi Okorafor, tells “a very modern story of immigration.” It’s set in what at first glance appears to be a dystopian alternate universe. This turns out not to be the case, however, and the graphic novel sports a fairly optimistic attitude, even through the story’s darker moments and revelations. 

While LaGuardia can be read as “just a comic” in the same way most people consume movies and other entertainment media without having any critical thoughts, it’s difficult to ignore the many parallels drawn between the comic’s world and reality. Several of the experiences, the protagonist Future and other characters have will seem familiar to the reader.

Like conductors of a choir Okorafor, Ford and Devlin expertly weave together multiple voices and tones to portray complex characters and ideas. The story explores common immigration fears, stereotypes and values often assigned particular groups or causes.  For example, most of the alien and human immigrants in the book are those who would be considered “worthy” or “deserving” by both historical and today’s standards. This category includes those seeking asylum from persecution or in Letme’s case genocide. 

In only 140 pages, the graphic novel feels heavy and light. The color scheme goes from dark to light, shifting the mood from airy to stifling. Even the names of the characters hold this dichotomy. We have Future, Letme Live, and Citizen whose names seem to hold deeper meanings. Then there are other names like Laundry and Payment which appear to have been chosen at random. 

Whether you are in the mood for a serious piece or just an interesting story, LaGuardia won’t disappoint you. It is worth reading.

New and old fans of Nnedi Okorafor’s work will be delighted to check out the complete mini-series LaGuardia, if they haven’t already. The trade paperback will be released by Dark Horse on July 17, 2019. 

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