Let’s talk Bayou.
You might want to consider starting off with a few details about your approach to the comic itself: is this your first time reading a comic? On the web? If you’re already a comics reader, how does Bayou compare to others? Perhaps you’re a teacher, an artist, a history buff. In other words, what shapes your reading of this work?
1. Any thoughts on the relationship between Lee and Lily? I think that there is more conveyed about their “friendship” through the wordless panels than anything else. Lee’s silence is especially painful as Lily talks and acts unthinkingly. I was struck by the sequence on page 11, where Lily remarks upon Billy’s death (“My mama…said a nigger boy got no business whistlin’ at no white women”) right before she whistles herself. For me that awkward little whistle is a reminder of the fragile and arbitrary nature of the power for which Billy was sacrificed.
2. What about the story’s use of history? In the first 32 pages, we only see a hint of the magical netherworld that surrounds the bayou, but we do get several historical references: segregation and the sharecropping system, a blueswoman at the Mississippi juke joint, and of course, the extended allusion to the death of Emmett Till (as the paperback points out, Billy’s original name was “Emmet”). In your view, are there meaningful nuances here or are the historical references too one-dimensional and contrived? I was initially concerned that the story was too formulaic, from the white child’s predictable attempts to place blame on Lee to the image of the sunset behind the sharecropper’s cabin. But the plot begins to develop quite nicely in Chapter 2 – so keep reading!
Any other comments?