The Silence of Our Friends

The Silence of Our Friends follows two families, one white, one black, living in the late 1960s Houston and struggling to cope with the racial tension that grips the city. Largely autobiographical, Mark Long and Jim DeMonakos tell the story of how Long's TV journalist father befriended black intellectual and organizer Larry and how he struggled with that decision as well as his desire to tell the truth. Long and DeMonakos do a nice job of placing the story in an historical context as well as making time for the more intimate moments that do more to show the state of the country better than any historical explanation.

Nate Powell's black and white art is strong and clear. Powell got rave reviews for his own work on Swallow Me Whole, but that book left me a bit cold. Here his linework seems cleaner and really my only complaint is that I didn't care for the way he depicted music.

There are a few weak points of the story. The ending feels a bit tacked on, as if Long wasn't quite sure how to end the piece. And I somehow initially missed that the youngest Long daughter was actually blind (I assumed that her brother was just calling her names). The blindness makes for an interesting subplot, but I felt as if it wasn't really made enough of a issue to be a comment on the story.

Overall, Silence does a great job of showing how the hatred of racism penetrates people's consciousness and how it filters down to even the smallest aspects of our lives.