Baraka and Black Magic in Morocco

    (Alternative, 2004)
™ and © 2004 Rick Smith

In addition to the pictures and video that most people use to capture memories of their vacations, Smith added another medium: comics. Billed by the publisher as a “graphic travelogue,” Smith delivers exactly that: an itinerary of his and his wife’s trip to Morocco in 2000.

Smith’s story is interesting and gives insight into a country that most readers aren’t familiar with. Those who purchase and read this graphic novel knowing its origins will probably find it enjoyable. Those who aren’t as well-informed will feel as if they’ve been suckered into watching some stranger’s evening-long slide show. Click. Here we are getting off the boat. Click. Here we are hailing a taxi, blah blah blah.

It’s like watching National Geographic Explorer. Each show is beautifully filmed and produced but, for all of its breathtaking visuals, it’s just another boring nature show to anyone not interested. Smith’s own versatility might be the very thing that leads readers to disappointment with this book, for there’s nothing remotely similar to the supernatural sentimentality of his recent Shuck Unmasked.

So be aware: It’s not a story; it’s a diary. But it’s an intriguing, detailed account of an experience that was undoubtedly for Smith an unusual, memorable one.

— Jim Johnson

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