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Ginseng Roots #3 (Review)


Writer/Artist: Craig Thompson

Letterer: Craig Thompson

Publisher: Uncivilized Books

Rating: 9/10

As I sit here writing this review, I find it hard to put into words how truly amazing this book is. It's unlike anything else out there, and this issue in particular is very different than the 2 that preceded it. It's part historical myth/tradition and the usual memoir of Craig Thompsons life. But one thing is for certain, it's one of the most visually stunning books you'll read this year.

This issue opens up talking about the Three Sovereigns from ancient Chinese texts. Thompson takes us on a journey through this ancient tale of Chinese deities. He cleverly plays up the similarities with Judeo/Christian texts, which makes complete sense since he grew up in a very religious household. While he doesn't really refer to that in this series, he covers it more in his past work, BLANKETS. I loved learning about this ancient tale, that I had never heard of before. It added a really interesting element to the book.

From there we learn the tale of Shennong and how he went on a quest to discover all of the healing herbs and such, which is how he discovered the Ginseng root. It was such a clever way tie this ancient tale into the current narrative of Thompson returning home during the Ginseng festival.

The way Thompson weaves in the history of Ginseng with his return home, is done so effortlessly. He cleverly contrasts the transplanting of American ginseng to his family being "transplants" in Wisconsin. My only issue with this book is that I wish it cam out more frequently. I absolutely adore the work of Craig Thompson and he always leaves you wanting more.

Overall this was another fantastic issue, further cementing Thompson as one of the greatest cartoonists of our generation. If you're not reading it, I highly recommend you rectify that immediately.

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