The Big Kahn – Comic Book Review

Written by Neil Kleid and drawn by Nicolas Cinquegrani

6 x9, 176 pp., trade pb., B&W with color cover, $13.95
ISBN 978-1-56163-561-0
Published by NBM/ComicsLit

The Big KahnPublished in September, The Big Kahn is an enriching read full of authentic and strong emotion.  The play on words in the title is a key element in the story (“Kahn/con”).  A rabbi named David Kahn dies and at the funeral service, a man shows up claiming not only to be his brother that no one knows, but says that Kahn wasn’t Jewish!  The repercussions of this revelation shape the rest of the book as we see the effects on Kahn’s devastated wife, two adult children (one is his hip, angry, secular daughter; the other a dedicated young rabbi) and his preteen son.  The dialogue is smart and sharp and the reactions of the community feel very real.

Cinquegrani’s black and white art is simple and evocative, and makes great use of a uniform gray tone to create shape and shadows.  His figure drawing is a bit inconsistent and there are occasional weaknesses in the structure of his people.  But his visual storytelling is pretty strong and he is certainly someone to watch.  This is his first book-length work and the improvements in his art are worth waiting for.

The Big Kahn is a very solid book and one of the best comics I’ve read in 2009 (and I recently finished all the Y: The Last Man volumes so that’s not faint praise).  Full disclosure: I do know both Kleid and Cinquegrani, and both are good guys and upstanding citizens.  But this is not a plug for a book — it’s a recommendation.  Read it.