Oil and Water is a graphic novel about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that happened in 2010 in the Gulf Coast. Written by Steve Duin and drawn by Shannon Wheeler (cartoonist most known for Too Much Coffee Man), Oil and Water chronicles the journey that twenty-four Oregonians went on to witness what had happened to the Gulf Coast in the wake of this horrendous, mammoth oil spill.
I've had Oil and Water at my store for well over a year, and had meant to read it when it originally came out in late 2011, but it wasn't until I was rearranging books on one of my displays earlier this week that I picked it up, looked through it again, was immediately drawn to Shannon Wheeler's art in this graphic novel, took it home, read it this morning and wondered why I hadn't read this sooner. I'd followed what had happened to Lousiana, Alabama, and Mississippi due to this enormous oil spill (covering thousands of miles) on CNN when it first happened, but reading the Oil and Water graphic novel really put this tragedy in a frame of context that was easier for me to grasp how horrible and long lasting this sad episode really is.
As Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler show in Oil and Water, it's easy to point fingers at big oil corporations as the bad guys when this happens, but the entire region is dependent on everything that is the oil machine and really all of us are guilty, because oil plays such a huge part in our everyday lives. Most of us, not living in that region, could also question why people live and work in an environment that is harmful to entire ecosystems, but until we (they) have viable alternatives to making a living, this is also elitist finger-pointing. The entire world is too reliant on the oil model, but until finding an energy alternative that works on a big scale is made a top priority, sadly what happened in the Gulf Coast with this oil spill is going to happen again (further compounded by so many powerful people have a vested interest in the oil machine not changing). Although I may have sounded preachy just now, Oil and Water never is and Ich Liebe Comics and Alternate Reality Comics highly recommends this graphic novel.