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Friday October 20, 2017
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Shaun Manning

 

continued

that you felt you could alter events? What if the drug became perfected to such a degree that you could alter events? History would become as transitory as a cloud. Our very existence could be changed in an instant by things happening far in our past that we couldn't imagine. It might very well become the most destructive drug anyone has ever discovered.

Graphic novels make interesting demands on their readers. The writing is often mostly in dialogue and it has to do a lot of work. Much of the rest of the information--physical descriptions, place, emotional tone, even a good deal of the narrative action--has to be conveyed in the illustration. To a novice reader, graphic novels might seem like storyboards for films, but that isn't quite right. The placement of illustration and dialogue on the page guides the reader through and communicates by its size and situation how important an event or a moment of dialogue is.

Illustrator Anna Wieszczyk has found the right palate and sharp edges to capture both the temptation of this "interesting drug" and the developing terror of its ultimate effects. The protagonist's personal history comes quickly and in dialogue: "Andrew Smith, 29 years old, studied biology at University of Michigan but never quite finished--why is that, anyway?--been working at Best Buy for the last seven years ..." And that's enough. Much of the rest of the characterization comes from the illustrations and from Andrew's actions.

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