Oil and Water
By Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler
When ten Oregonians travel to the Gulf Coast in August 2010 to plumb the devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon spill, they discover that Oil and Water is just the first of the insoluble contradictions. Between the tarred sands of Grand Isle and the fouled waters of the Louisiana bayou, they come to find out that Gulf Coast residents are economically dependent upon the very industry that is wreaking havoc on their environment. In the shadow of the greatest ecological disaster of our time, they are forced to reassess their roles as witness, critic and environmental steward.
In this 144-page graphic novel — written by Steve Duin, a columnist for The Oregonian, and illustrated by Eisner-winning New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler — readers will tour the shark-pocked beach at Grand Isle with the local head of Homeland Security; step aboard the crabbing boat of a 20-year-old Mississippian who works 16-hour days and spends his nights dreaming of M.I.T.; enter the Hot Zone where volunteers work desperately to save brown pelicans drenched in British petroleum; and hear shrimpers, Vietnamese and good ol boys alike, describe what happens to their livelihood when 200 million gallons of oil flood the scene. The readers perspective on what hope and what mission remains along a ravaged coastline, and one awash in both seafood and oil, will be changed as irrevocably as that of these ten Oregonians.