Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: The Nobody

One day, in a rural fishing village where nothing much usually happens, a drifter covered in bandages walks into town. He rents a room at the local inn, while the other residents of Large Mouth keep a suspicious eye on him. There's a rumor that the he's a wanted man - or maybe a victim of a horrible accident. Only the stranger himself knows the truth, and he's not telling anyone. This is the story of The Nobody.
The Nobody is written and drawn by Jeff Lemire, relatively new to the graphic novel scene. Prior to this, he produced the Essex County Trilogy, which was published by Top Shelf Productions and nominated for both a Harvey Award and two Eisner Awards (very prestigous comics awards, for those of you who don't know). The Nobody was published last year by Vertigo, who also publish his current ongoing series, Sweet Tooth.
Even though the secret of why John Griffen wears those bandages is unceremoniously revealed on the back cover of the book, I choose not to spoil it here. Suffice it to say, Lemire pays tribute to a classic novel. In fact, he seems to have borrowed a little too much of the plot from that novel. The interesting part, for me at least, is what Lemire brings to the table on his own, namely a compelling depiction of a small town where isolation and paranoia bubbles not very far under the surface. I actually found the side characters much more intriguing than Griffen. I would've liked to know more about Vickie, the lonely girl who wants out of Large Mouth; crazy old Tommy Marvel and his scary dog; even that paranoid coot Teddy Henfrey.
The dialogue is sparse and very effectively underscores the loneliness of the characters, while the artwork is painterly and loose, somewhat comparable to Craig Thompson (Blankets) but not as expressionistic. However, I found it slightly distracting that the book was computer-lettered when the speech balloons was obviously drawn by hand and very organic-looking, but that's a very minor gripe. All in all, it's a good read, but I suspect the Essex County Trilogy is even better. Anyway, you can judge for yourself; read the free preview here.

1 comment:

Catalina said...

I like what I see and the reading is fab!