Set during the 1930s, the graphic novel “Liebestrasse”, which means “Love Street”, follows American Sam’s romance with Berliner Philip, which is complicated by the rise of the Nazi party, as they soon fall on their hit-list.
Created by Greg Lockard, Tim Fish and Hactor Barros, the book first starts in 1952, where Sam is leading a pretty content life in the U.S but he goes back to Germany to reconnect with old friends and then starts to reminisce about his doomed romance with Philip. The setting reminded me of Netflix documentary ‘Eldorado – Alles, was die Nazis hassen’, which looks back at the freedom enjoyed by LGBT community in Berlin before the Nazis rose to power.
At under 100 pages, “Liebestrasse” is a quick poignant historical fiction novel which dwells on how unreal the Nazis seems, until they came knocking on your door. Sam is hard-working, discreet and restrained individual, while Philip is a more carefree wild-child, used to the freedoms of Berlin’s night life. The way these protagonists meet at a museum is similar to the 2022 drama “My Policeman”, although the time and settings are a world apart. It’s interesting how much of Philip’s relaxed attitude and fierce personality probably stems from a place of privilege. He doesn’t have a proper job and obviously comes from a wealthy family, which affords him the luxury of moving in exclusive circles and not having to worry too much about consequences of his actions. Sam, on the other hand, is a working-class man from America, and the hedonistic, liberated Berlin is not something he is used to.
The artwork by Tim Fish and Hector Barros is quite retro in style, the panels aren’t too busy and the colors are slightly subdued. The coloring adds a dated touch to the story, which was probably a deliberate choice since the plot unfolds in the 1930s/1950s, but I did not enjoy the color scheme. However, the character designs and everything else is quite nice and perhaps a black-and-white palette would’ve the suited this graphic novel better.
Overall, Liebestrasse is an engaging graphic novel, which chooses to focus on a tragic chapter in history through the lens of a gay couple falling in love with each other when everything else around them was falling apart.
Rating: 3.5 on 5. The book is also available on Kindle Unlimited.
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