Paul Chadwick – The World Below

This 2007 graphic novel, parts of which were published earlier, is a rousing and fun homage to pre-space-age science fiction. A group of adventurers explore a vast cavern populated with strange flora and fauna, and an assortment of robots. It’s a fun read with some cool ideas, some borrowed, some new, and nothing too deep or worrisome.

Wake by Jean David Morvan and Philippe Buchet

Wake is a multi-volume science fiction graphic novel from the early to mid 2000s. I came across volume five, which combines story 6 (Artifice) and 7 (Maximum [in]security). The stories are fun, both brutal and humourous and a bit over the top. Navee, the main character is quirky, tolerant and at times impatient. What I really like most about the volume, though, is the illustrations. Buchet’s use of line, framing, colour and so on is hyper-real. The pictures remind me a lot of Moebius’s work from Heavy Metal. In particular I like the attention to detail – Snivel, Navee’s robot buddy, gets disected and retrofitted to two different bodies, ending up with a nice replacement, yet he always looks like Snivel. When Navee pulls on gloves from the three-fingered aliens, her middle two fingers are forced into a single finger space – not overtly done, but when I noticed that, it was pleasing to see the care that had been taken.

How does a graphic novel fit with reading for writing?

1. Read widely.
2. Graphic novels still have a story.
3. Maybe the story you’re working on but struggling with might lend itself better to treatment as a graphic novel.
4. Read widely.