Publisher: AK Press
Released: April 24, 2018
A beautifully illustrated graphic novel that tells the story of Simón Radowitzky (1891-1956), a gentle soul caught up in a cruel world. The author/illustrator is an Argentinian living in Spain where the book was first published in 2016. Radowitzky appears in a few books (The Anarchist Expropriators and Rebellion in Patagonia,) but this is the first English-language book devoted solely to him. His tumultuous life begins with his immigration from Ukraine to Argentina, followed by his assassination of Colonel Falcon, who presided over the slaughter of 100 workers, in 1909. Banished to a penal colony, he escaped, was recaptured and tortured, serving a total of twenty years. Upon release he joined the Spanish Revolution, after which he decamped for Mexico, where he died in 1956 while employed at a toy factory. Stuart Christie, author of Granny Made Me an Anarchist, introduces the AK Press edition.
"Comotto’s Prisoner 155 is, in my view, a truly great work, comparable to Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, rich with complexity and ambiguity, and whose shy and sensitive central character, a committed humanist imbued with a deep sense of justice who never expressed regret for the two lives he took, remains an enigma. He was one of countless men and women, the salt of the earth, most of them anonymous, who chose to resist against an unjust, class-ridden society in the hope of building a better world for humanity."
—Stuart Christie, from the foreword
Praise for Prisoner 155
"A gripping, albeit ambitious, account of a recondite dissident."
"This graphic treatment of a complicated hero is an epic of resistance and humanity."
"While Radowitzky’s story has been told … it has never been told in quite the way Agustín Comotto tells it. Through a series of flashbacks [Prisoner 155] examines the agonies and survival of an exceptional individual.”
"Comotto the author, whose words are fluidly translated from their original Spanish by Luigi Celentano, grew up in a politically charged household. He brings an insider’s view to the revolution to the pages of Prisoner 155. Comotto chooses not to preach, or to push an obvious agenda. The motivation and justification for the book’s events are self-evident, and he presents them with authority."
—Frank M. Young, The Comics Journal
"This is the incredible real-life story Spanish comics artist Agustin Comotto was given charge to tell, and his work does this remarkable subject tremendous justice... The artwork in Prisoner 155 is stunning, and a perfect complement to this profound morality tale. Figures are tastefully pencilled in shades of gray that fittingly renders the long and deeply etched faces of everyone in this sad, heroic tale."
—Rhea Rollman, Popmatters
"A labour of love, beautifully constructed."
—Kate Sharpley Library
Agustín Comotto is an author and illustrator who was born in Argentina but moves around the world. He has drawn and/or written books in the U.S., France, Mexico, Argentina, and Spain. Winner of the A la Orilla del Viento award in Mexico, he is the author of The Weight of the Stars: The Life of Anarchist Octavio Alberola.
Stuart Christie (1946–2020) is best known for his involvement in the anarchist resistance to the Franco dictatorship in Spain. He is the author of Granny Made Me an Anarchist. He also co-founded the Anarchist Black Cross, Black Flag and Cienfuegos Press—among many other publishing ventures.
Luigi Celentano is a translator, writer, and editor based in Buenos Aires.