Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Nobody

Canadian writer/artist Jeff Lemire brings H.G. Wells' classic psychological sci-fi tale The Invisible Man forward in time a hundred years to 1994 in three acts. Lemire's spare narrative and simple black and white artwork (sorry black, white & icy blue tint) are well suited to the subtle storytelling of The Nobody. The original novella put forward several philosophical theories about what would happen to a man freed of the moral constraints of society by the escape route of invisibility. J.R.R. Tolkien was also fascinated by such ideas and used them in his stories about a magical ring that could make the wearer invisible. Lemire's take on the story is somewhat more subtle, drawing on small town paranoia, as did Wells, of the mysterious stranger and the irony of an invisible man who is quite the largest and most visible event to visit the place, but adding little alternative perspectives with protagonist and satellite characters , most notably Vickie, vying for their visibility in society. The way familiarity makes people or things fade from our attention is another of the clever observations subtly suggested, usually with hardly any scripted direction beyond the panels of artwork. There's plenty of space in the telling of the story for the reader to expand their own thought on the subject. Just goes to show that you don't need to fill the page with words to tell an intelligent and subtly poignant tale.

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