Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning MAUS casts an imposing shadow upon every graphic novel memoir that has arrived in its wake. Is it a fair comparison? No, but when the topic is the struggles between the artist and his refugee parents years after a tumultuous war, it’s almost impossible to ignore. Unfortunately, GB Tran’s VIETNAMERICA falls far short, even when graded on a steep curve.
GB Tran is the American-born son of parents who fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975. He maintains a casual disinterest in his family’s history and indeed the history of the Vietnam War until he travels to the country for the first time to attend his grandmother’s funeral.